18.01.2021

11 popular health myths

There are many stereotypes about health, which in fact turn out to be naive misconceptions. For example, listening to classics in early childhood does not affect the mental development of the child, and constant wearing of a bra does not increase the risk of cancer.

Myth # 1: Antiperspirant Use in the Morning

Almost everyone uses an antiperspirant in the morning – before leaving home, which seems logical. But, as cosmetic chemist Nikita Wilson says, this cosmetic product should be applied to clean and dry skin, and it is best to do this in the evening after a shower. So the active substances in the antiperspirant will have time to clog the sweat ducts overnight, while their effect can last up to 24 hours.

Myth No. 2: Listening to Mozart in early childhood will make a child a genius

In 1993, Nature magazine said that college students improved their test results after listening to Mozart’s works, and their intelligence coefficient increased by several units. Upon hearing this, the media vied to publish articles with sensational headlines like “Listening to Mozart will make a child a genius!”. The truth is that students listened to the classics for only 15 minutes, and they participated in tests for spatial thinking (folding paper or going through a maze), which cannot speak of a general increase in the level of intelligence. And most interesting, this experiment was conducted by musician Don Campbell, who then released books and CDs with classical music.

After 10 years, a group of scientists conducted about 40 studies on the so-called “Mozart effect“, and  could not prove that listening to classics at least somehow increases the level of intelligence.

Myth # 3: Wearing a bra constantly increases your risk of cancer.

A 2014 study showed that wearing a bra has no effect on the development of breast cancer. Scientists from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle examined more than 1,500 postmenopausal women (1,000 of them were diagnosed with cancer), found out their bra wearing habits, and came to the conclusion that constant wearing of a bra does not contribute to the development of breast cancer.

Interestingly, the opinion of the bra as the culprit for the development of cancer arose after the publication of the controversial book Dressed for Murder in 1995. And it was written by anthropologists, and not medical researchers.

Myth No. 4: If everything is okay with vision, you don’t need to visit an ophthalmologist

Tell me honestly, when was the last time you visited the optometrist? But many eye diseases, including glaucoma, can develop without any obvious symptoms. So says Ann Sumers, an ophthalmologist and representative of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Moreover, even the loss of peripheral vision, which is one of the signs of glaucoma, often goes unnoticed.

Therefore, doctors recommend visiting an ophthalmologist annually. In addition, with the help of an examination, the optometrist can detect signs of other serious diseases in the early stages.

Myth No. 5: It’s better to eat 5-6 times a day in small portions.

Studies have shown that the frequency of meals does not affect metabolic rate, fat burning and weight loss. That is, the statement that it is better to eat 5-6 times in small portions does not have a scientific reliable justification. The main thing is to adhere to the principles of proper nutrition: eat healthy food and not overeat.

Myth # 6: The heart stops momentarily at the moment of sneezing

Everyone knows the sensations during sneezing: the eyes are very tight, a sharp exhalation, in which it seems as if the heart is bouncing inside. Hence the opinion that the heart stops for a moment.

But, according to cardiologist David Ratlen of Arkansas University of Medical Sciences, when we sneeze, intrathoracic pressure in our body rises sharply. This reduces the flow of blood to the heart, which, in turn, changes its regular heartbeat. But the electrical activity of the heart during sneezing does not stop, that is, the heart does not stop working.

Myth # 7: Humanity Gets Smarter

Professor Gerald Crabtree, head of the genetics laboratory at Stanford University, argues that today’s people are more stupid and emotionally unstable than those who lived 3,000 years ago. And this despite the technological and medical achievements of mankind.

Crabtree studied mutations in our genes and found that the level of human intelligence began to decline slowly since people ceased to be hunters and gatherers. Thus, humanity is becoming dumber due to the lack of competition for survival, because we live in a safe civilized world, where everything you need can be bought in stores, and nothing threatens our life. And if a person who lived 3,000 years ago had passed the IQ test, he probably would have scored more points than the average modern resident of our planet.

Myth # 8: Nerve cells do not recover.

For a long time, scientists believed that we were born with a certain number of neurons (nerve cells in the brain), the number of which is constantly decreasing throughout life. But it turns out that the brain produces new nerve cells all its life. This process is called neurogenesis. In 2000, scientists Peter Ericsson and Fred Gage proved that in some areas of the brain there is a process of neurogenesis even in people aged 70 years.

Myth # 9: Our Fingerprints Are Unique

Since childhood, we know that our fingerprints are unique, which is why they play a big role in identifying criminals. But, as Mike Silverman, a forensic expert from the UK, said, there is no reliable way to prove that there are no identical fingerprints.

In 2005, one study cited 22 cases of erroneous fingerprint identification, which resulted in innocent people being punished. Silverman noted that members of the same family can have almost similar papillary patterns on the fingertips. Thus, to declare that our fingerprints are unique is impossible.

Myth # 10: You can quickly turn gray from sudden intense stress

There is a legend about the French Queen Marie Antoinette, who on the night before her execution turned gray from stress. A syndrome is called in her honor today, in which a person suddenly loses hair color. Surprisingly, many still believe that turning gray from severe stress or fright can be almost instantaneous.

But, as Dr. Murray Feingold writes, not a single study has yet proven this belief. It is also known that chronic stress can lead to the gradual loss of healthy pigmented hair. And it can take months and years.

Myth # 11: Appendix is ​​a useless rudiment.

For many decades, the appendix has been regarded as a useless organ on which human health does not depend. But scientists have found that this appendage of the cecum plays the role of a kind of reservoir for beneficial bacteria. If necessary, these bacteria help our digestion and eliminate infections.

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