Articles on Medical myths

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Controlled crying is when parents respond to their infant’s cries and gently comfort them, then return at increasing time intervals. Flickr/tea...

Monday’s medical myth: controlled crying damages babies’ brains

In my clinical work with pregnant and postnatal mums experiencing anxiety and mood disorders, few issues are reported as consistently as sleep deprivation. Parents who spend the first year of their child’s…
There has been very little scientific evidence so far to support sex as a method of inducing labour. Image from shutterstock.com

Monday’s medical myth: sex induces labour

Sex. It’s what got you into pregnancy, but is it also the pathway to getting you out? Around a quarter of all Australian pregnancies are medically induced, with a third of those inductions occurring due…
Based on the evidence, it’s safe to dismiss this one as a myth. Flickr/lism

Monday’s medical myth: deodorants cause breast cancer

The concern that using deodorants and antiperspirants might increase the risk of breast cancer has been around for around for at least 15 years, probably longer. The theory suggests that either parabens…
Excess kilojoules, rather than dietary fat, leads to weight gain. Image from shutterstock.com

Monday’s medical myth: low-fat diets are better for weight loss

If food is labelled low fat, it’s got to be better for weight loss, right? Wrong – it’s the total kilojoules that matter most for weight loss. Looking solely at fat content only gives you part of the picture…
There are good reasons why cranberry products could work, but the weight of scientific evidence shows cranberry products are ineffective for preventing UTIs. Flickr/Half Chinese

Monday’s medical myth: cranberry juice prevents bladder infections

You might eat them in a sauce alongside your Christmas turkey or drink them juiced, perhaps with a shot of vodka. But the sweet, tart cranberry is also well known as a remedy for preventing urinary tract…
Most pregnant women only need to eat the equivalent of an extra two pieces of fruit and half a glass of milk a day. Flickr/flequi

Monday’s medical myth: eat for two during pregnancy

We’ve all heard people sprout the phrase, “go on, you’re eating for two now” at barbecues, dinner parties and wherever food is being served, forcing pregnant women to decline offers of more and more food…
Unless you’re allergic to cow’s milk, dairy products are unlikely to cause or exacerbate asthma. Image from shutterstock.com

Monday’s medical myth: dairy products exacerbate asthma

Dairy products are good for the bones, so we’re encouraged to have regular serves of (reduced-fat) milk cheese and yogurt. But can they make asthma and allergies worse? Asthma is a respiratory condition…
Up to one in three Australians take vitamin supplements, but few healthy people need them. Brian Gaid

Monday’s medical myth: take a vitamin a day for better health

Forget an apple a day, vitamin manufacturers would have you believe it’s important to take daily vitamins to boost your health. And a surprising proportion of Australians do. Data from the last National…
You may never know exactly why you get bitten more than your friends. Jason Verwey

Monday’s medical myth: mosquitos prefer sweet blood

It’s quite a romantic notion that the sweetness of our blood attracts mosquitoes. But in reality, it’s probably the cocktail of stinky microbes on our skin that really draws them in. It’s hard to know…
There is no evidence to support the claim that eating peanuts or peanut butter during pregnancy will make your child allergic to peanuts. Image from shutterstock.com

Monday’s medical myth: peanuts in pregnancy cause allergies

Anyone else have the feeling something radical has happened with peanut allergy in the past 30 years? I don’t recall knowing anyone allergic to peanuts or peanut butter as a child in the 1980s, yet today…
There is no truth to claims that immunisations cause autism, brain damage or sudden infant death syndrome. theloushe

Monday’s medical myth: childhood vaccinations are dangerous

When I was an infant I had whooping cough and was ill for three months. I don’t remember it, of course, but I know it was very distressing for my parents. I do remember later trips with my researcher father…
Swimming isn’t the best way to settle that full stomach but it’s unlikely to cause you to drown. Jaypeg

Monday’s medical myth: wait 30 minutes after eating before you swim

The old saying that you should wait at least 30 minutes after eating before you swim is based on the idea that after a big meal, blood will be diverted away from your arms and legs, towards your stomach’s…
During summer, most of us get adequate vitamin D from just a few minutes of daily sun exposure. AveLardo

Monday’s medical myth: we’re not getting enough sun

Myths abound about UV radiation and its effect on our health. We hear that sun-protection has triggered an epidemic of vitamin D deficiency; being tanned protects you from sunburn; a tan looks healthy…
Natural does not necessarily equate to harmless. Nor does conventional equate to unnatural. Flickr/wine me up

Monday’s medical myth: natural cancer therapies can’t harm you

One of the most misleading myths of modern medicine is that conventional cancer doctors reject “natural” therapies in favour of artificial or “unnatural” cancer treatments. This myth has contributed to…
Breathing through your mouth or chewing gum has no effect: the tear stimulus is in your eyes, not your nose or mouth. Flickr/tarale

Monday’s medical myth: chewing gum stops onion tears

The cultivated onion, Allium cepa, is a savoury staple of cuisines around the world. Yet slicing up onions all too often leads to tears: you peel off the papery outer skin, start chopping and before long…
Detox diets may do little harm, except to your bank balance, but neither do they do a lot of good. katstan

Monday’s medical myth: detox diets cleanse your body

Detox diets make amazing promises of dramatic weight loss and more energy – all achieved by flushing toxins from the body. Toxins have very little to do with it; detox diets “work” because of the very…
Women can move more easily in water, enabling them to change position with ease. Flickr/kTLindSAy

Monday’s medical myth: water births are risky

“Women aren’t dolphins” is a phrase often bandied about by those who question why women want to immerse themselves in pools or warm baths during labour and birth. They forget that we’re not mountain goats…
One in four Australians take fish oil but the latest evidence shows it won’t improve the health of your heart. Flickr/wine me up

Monday’s medical myth: fish oil is good for heart health

Did you hold your nose and take your daily dose of fish oil this morning? Or perhaps you opted for an odour-free capsule? Well, you’re not alone. Around one in four Australians take fish oil supplements…

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