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Medical Myths and Urban Legends


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#1 Justa

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Posted 16 May 2007 - 07:02 PM

This is something near and dear to my heart, by way of my profession. I'm always amazed by the stories that circulate when it comes to our health, that people will believe at face value, without investigating further. And the best part is when they tell it as though they are an expert on the subject. However, when you press further and ask for references, they stutter and stammer, and try to remember if it was in the Farmer's Almanac, or in their Aunt Ruth's biography.

Anyway, let's share some of the medical urban legends that you have heard.

Here is one of my favourites.


When my daughter was in grade 4, she came home one afternoon and said "Daddy, guess what I learned in school today. Your blood is blue, until it mixes with oxygen, and then it turns red."

"Who told you that?" I asked, trying to hide my shock.

"My teacher." she replied.

You can imagine my amazement and shock. Here was a person that children look up to, who is supposed to "teach" them, and provide them with facts, and this person was spreading misinformation.

So, I sat my daughter down, pulled out the medical books, and proved to her that human blood is not blue, and that it comes in two shades of red... bright red and dark red.

The next day she went to school, and in the middle of class, put up her hand. When the teacher called on her, she proudly announced "My dad said you are wrong, blood is not blue, it's red"

The teacher was a little red faced and apologetic at the next parent-teacher interview :)

That's my girl :(

The funny thing is, I recall hearing this same thing, and believing it when I was a youngster.


So, what medical stories have you heard that are generally accepted but are in fact, false?

Edited by Justa, 16 May 2007 - 07:04 PM.

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#2 spooksareus

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Posted 16 May 2007 - 07:26 PM

:) Hair and nails keep "growing" even after you die :( that one just kills me!

"It is perfectly monstrous the way people go about, nowadays, saying things against one behind one's back that are absolutely and entirely true." -Oscar Wilde “The Picture of Dorian Gray”


#3 Adramelech

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Posted 17 May 2007 - 02:19 AM

:) Hair and nails keep "growing" even after you die :( that one just kills me!



that is true. Its proved

#4 Ditz

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Posted 17 May 2007 - 05:23 AM

oh here's another good one:

The British NHS is an excellent service with happy and friendly staff to help with anything.

Sorry, bad mood, but that is starting to become an urban legend lol.

#5 rayzrwyre

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Posted 17 May 2007 - 03:13 PM

I had always heard that we don't use our appendices now, since we cook our meals and don't have to digest raw meat, but I have eaten very rare steaks all my life, and had a few doctors tell me that mine does function, for some strange reason!
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#6 hellpaso

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Posted 18 May 2007 - 12:58 PM

i like the one that says hair will grow back faster and thicker if you cut or shave it!

#7 Bluemooncat

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Posted 18 May 2007 - 01:29 PM

LOL! My favorite is the one about how gum stays in your stomach for seven years if you swollow it.

As a child my dad also had me convinced that if you used a tooth pick and got a splinter your teeth would turn to wood! (Not an urban legend but still kinda funny)
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#8 Axman

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Posted 27 May 2007 - 11:52 PM

:headbang: Hair and nails keep "growing" even after you die :clap: that one just kills me!



that is true. Its proved


Actually, what happens, is the skin recedes on the fingers as it "shinks" during decay making the nails appear to grow.
Ah. Well... I attended Juilliard... I'm a graduate of the Harvard business school. I travel quite extensively. I lived through the Black Plague and had a pretty good time during that. I've seen the EXORCIST ABOUT A HUNDRED AND SIXTY-SEVEN TIMES, AND IT KEEPS GETTING FUNNIER EVERY SINGLE TIME I SEE IT... NOT TO MENTION THE FACT THAT YOU'RE TALKING TO A DEAD GUY... NOW WHAT DO YOU THINK? You think I'm qualified? --BeetlejuiceI'm the ghost with the most, babe.--BeetlejuiceWe've come for your daughter Chuck--Beetlejuice

#9 Axman

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Posted 28 May 2007 - 12:10 AM

:headbang: Hair and nails keep "growing" even after you die :clap: that one just kills me!



that is true. Its proved


Actually, what happens, is the skin recedes on the fingers as it "shinks" during decay making the nails appear to grow.


Here's the skinny!

http://www.snopes.co...ce/nailgrow.asp
Ah. Well... I attended Juilliard... I'm a graduate of the Harvard business school. I travel quite extensively. I lived through the Black Plague and had a pretty good time during that. I've seen the EXORCIST ABOUT A HUNDRED AND SIXTY-SEVEN TIMES, AND IT KEEPS GETTING FUNNIER EVERY SINGLE TIME I SEE IT... NOT TO MENTION THE FACT THAT YOU'RE TALKING TO A DEAD GUY... NOW WHAT DO YOU THINK? You think I'm qualified? --BeetlejuiceI'm the ghost with the most, babe.--BeetlejuiceWe've come for your daughter Chuck--Beetlejuice

#10 spooksareus

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Posted 28 May 2007 - 12:18 AM

Deliciously repulsive ain't it :headbang:

"It is perfectly monstrous the way people go about, nowadays, saying things against one behind one's back that are absolutely and entirely true." -Oscar Wilde “The Picture of Dorian Gray”


#11 TheresaRHPS

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Posted 28 May 2007 - 12:19 AM

I'm sure there are a few males on here who know what I'm talking about when I say "you'll go blind and get hairy palms."
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#12 spooksareus

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Posted 28 May 2007 - 12:25 AM

Oh no, that one is DEFINATELY true! :headbang:

"It is perfectly monstrous the way people go about, nowadays, saying things against one behind one's back that are absolutely and entirely true." -Oscar Wilde “The Picture of Dorian Gray”


#13 spooksareus

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Posted 28 May 2007 - 12:33 AM

Chewing gum takes seven years to pass through your digestive system.

"It is perfectly monstrous the way people go about, nowadays, saying things against one behind one's back that are absolutely and entirely true." -Oscar Wilde “The Picture of Dorian Gray”


#14 TheresaRHPS

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Posted 28 May 2007 - 12:33 AM

Oh no, that one is DEFINATELY true! :headbang:


Maybe if ya shoot yourself in the eye, then stick a sticky hand in a pile of fur or something, lol.
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#15 Kira

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Posted 28 May 2007 - 07:50 PM

What about if you cross your eyes and someone hits you on the back, they'll stay crossed. My 4th grade teacher said that to a boy who always crossed his eyes. I believed it and lucky am unable to cross them.

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