Seven Medical Myths That Even Doctors Believe

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Seven Medical Myths That Even Doctors Believe

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Old 12-22-2007, 19:29   #1
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Default Seven Medical Myths That Even Doctors Believe

7 Medical Myths Even Doctors Believe - Yahoo! News

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Old 01-04-2008, 09:30   #2
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I could comment on more but the water one has always
been my favourite.

Over here if you give blood then you have to drink something and
they prefer if you drink water to help thin your blood. If you have
a coffee then you are supposed to drink 2 glasses of water. It's
still the standard here.


Dehydration occurs when you lose more water than you take in. Even a slight imbalance causes serious problems because water is essential to human life: It forms the basis for all body fluids, including blood and digestive juices; it aids in the transportation and absorption of nutrients; and it helps eliminate waste.

Signs And Symptoms:

Unfortunately, thirst isn't a reliable gauge of the body's need for water, especially in children and older adults. A better barometer is the color of your urine: clear or light-colored urine means you're well-hydrated, whereas a dark yellow or amber color usually signals dehydration.

Mild to moderate dehydration is likely to cause:

Excessive thirst
Sleepiness or tiredness — children are likely to be less active than usual
Dry mouth
Decreased urine output — fewer than six wet diapers a day for infants and eight hours or more without urination for older children and teens
Few or no tears when crying
Muscle weakness
Dizziness or lightheadedness

Severe dehydration, a medical emergency, can cause:

Extreme thirst
Extreme fussiness or sleepiness in infants and children; irritability and confusion in adults
Very dry mouth, skin and mucous membranes
Lack of sweating
Little or no urination — any urine that is produced will be dark yellow or amber
Sunken eyes
Shriveled and dry skin that lacks elasticity and doesn't "bounce back" when pinched into a fold
In infants, sunken fontanels — the soft spot on the top of a baby's head
Low blood pressure
Rapid heart beat
In the most serious cases, delirium or unconsciousness


Diarrhea. Severe, acute diarrhea — that is, diarrhea that comes on suddenly and violently — can cause a tremendous loss of water and electrolytes in a short amount of time. If you have vomiting along with diarrhea, you lose even more fluids and minerals. Children and infants are especially at risk. Worldwide, more than 1.5 million infants and children die of dehydration resulting from diarrhea every year.

Exercise. Every day, athletes of all ages and skill levels experience some degree of dehydration. And although it makes sense that you sweat more in hot weather, you can also become dehydrated in winter, especially if you wear layers of insulated clothing. Although no one who is active is immune, preteens and teens who participate in sports are especially susceptible, because of their smaller body weight.

Fever. In general, the higher your fever, the more dehydrated you become. If you have a fever in addition to diarrhea and vomiting, you lose even more fluids.

Increased urination. This is most often the result of undiagnosed or uncontrolled diabetes, a disease that affects the way your body uses blood sugar and that often causes increased thirst and more frequent urination. Another condition, diabetes insipidus, is also characterized by excessive thirst and urination, but in this case the cause is a hormonal disorder that makes your kidneys unable to conserve water. Certain medications — diuretics, antihistamines, blood pressure medications and some psychiatric drugs — as well as alcohol can also lead to dehydration, generally because they cause you to urinate or perspire more than normal.

Long airplane flights. The air in the cabins of most commercial airplanes is drier than the Sahara Desert, with humidity levels hovering around 10 percent or less. Compounding the problem for some people is alcohol — a readily available in-flight beverage. It takes 8 ounces of water to make up for every 1.5 ounces of alcohol you consume. Older adults and people who have diabetes or who take drugs that increase urination are particularly at risk. The best advice when flying is to bypass the alcohol cart and drink bottled water instead. Sugary drinks, coffee and tea aren't ideal substitutes. Although new research suggests that caffeine-containing beverages aren't as dehydrating as once thought, water is still your best bet.

When to seek medical advice:

If you're a healthy adult, you can usually treat mild to moderate dehydration by drinking more fluids. Get immediate medical care if you develop severe signs and symptoms such as extreme thirst, no urination for eight hours, shriveled skin, dizziness and confusion.

Treat children and older adults with even greater caution. Call your family doctor right away if your child:

Develops severe diarrhea, with or without vomiting or fever
Has had episodes of vomiting for more than 12 hours
Has had moderate diarrhea for five days or more
Can't keep down fluids Is irritable and much sleepier or less active than usual Has any of the signs or symptoms of mild or moderate dehydration
Go to the nearest hospital emergency room or call 911 if you think a child or older adult is severely dehydrated. You can help prevent dehydration from becoming severe by carefully monitoring someone who is sick and giving fluids at the first sign of diarrhea, vomiting or fever and by encouraging children to drink plenty of water before, during and after exercise.


The only effective treatment for dehydration is to replace lost fluids. The best way to do that depends on your age, the severity of your dehydration and its cause.

Treating dehydration in sick children:

Your doctor can offer specific suggestions for treating dehydration in your child, but some general guidelines include the following:

Use an oral rehydration solution. Unless your doctor advises otherwise, use an oral rehydration solution such as Pedialtyte or Ricelyte for infants and children who have diarrhea, vomiting or fever. These solutions contain water and salts in specific proportions to replenish both fluids and electrolytes. They also contain glucose or another carbohydrate such as rice powder to enhance absorption in the intestinal tract. Oral rehydration products are readily available in most drugstores, and many pharmacies carry their own brands. The secret is to begin giving fluids early in the course of an illness instead of waiting until the situation becomes urgent.
In an emergency, or when traveling abroad, you can make your own oral rehydration solution by mixing 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda and 3 tablespoons of sugar in a quart of pure water. Be sure to measure accurately because incorrect amounts can make the solution less effective or even harmful.

In most developing countries you also can buy packets of a powdered oral rehydration solution, WHO-ORS, originally developed by the World Health Organization to treat diarrhea and dehydration in infants with cholera. Reconstitute the powder in bottled or boiled water according to the directions on the package.

Whatever alternative you chose, be sure to give enough solution. Your doctor may suggest specific amounts, depending on your child's age and degree of dehydration, but a general rule of thumb is to keep giving liquids slowly until your child's urine becomes clear-colored. When your child is vomiting, try giving small amounts of solution at frequent intervals — 1 teaspoon every minute, for instance. If your child can't keep this down, wait 30 to 60 minutes and try again. Room temperature fluids are best.

Continue to breast-feed. Don't stop breast-feeding when your baby is sick, but add an oral rehydration solution as well. If you give your baby formula, try switching to one that's lactose-free until diarrhea improves — lactose can make diarrhea worse. Your doctor may also suggest substituting an oral rehydration solution for the formula for 12 to 24 hours.
Avoid certain foods and drinks. The best liquid for a sick child is an oral rehydration solution — plain water doesn't provide essential electrolytes, and although sports drinks replenish electrolytes, they replace those lost through sweating, not through diarrhea or vomiting. Avoid giving your child salty broths, milk — especially boiled milk — sodas, fruit juices or gelatins, which don't relieve dehydration and which may make symptoms worse.

Treating dehydration in athletes of all ages:

For exercise-related dehydration, cool water is your best bet. There's no need for salt tablets — too much salt can lead to hypernatremic dehydration, a condition in which your body not only is short of water but also carries an excess of sodium. Some people prefer sports drinks containing electrolytes and a carbohydrate solution, but they're not essential unless you're exercising strenuously for an hour or more.

Treating severe dehydration:

Children and adults who are severely dehydrated should be treated in a hospital emergency room where they can receive salts and fluids through a vein (intravenously) rather than by mouth. Intravenous hydration provides the body with water and essential nutrients much more quickly than oral solutions do — something that's essential in life-threatening situations.

Last edited by Terrie; 01-06-2008 at 00:20.
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Old 04-29-2008, 04:57   #3
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Unfortunately the Yahoo link has expired, but what appears to be the same article is still available here.

IIRC the "we use only 10 percent of our brains" myth comes from an early brain-mapping attempt in the 1930s; the experimenters electrically stimulated volunteers' brains and noted what happened (e.g. involuntary twitches) and asked the volunteers to report any unexpected events such as sounds or smells. In 90% of cases they couldn't see any result, and concluded "therefore only 10% of the brain is functional". What they should have concluded is "therefore only 10% of the brain has functionality which can be detected by the present technique" because they overlooked things such as abstract thought. The "non-functional" 90% of the brain has had its functionality revealed by more sophisticated (and less invasive) techniques.

Originally Posted by Terrie View Post
I could comment on more but the water one has always
been my favourite.




Exercise. [...], preteens and teens who participate in sports are especially susceptible, because of their smaller body weight.
Another reason children are more prone to dehydration through sweating is the square-cube law; kids have a much higher surface-area:body-mass ratio than adults.

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Old 04-29-2008, 07:56   #4
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Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
Unfortunately the Yahoo link has expired, but what appears to be the same article is still available here.
Oh Thanks for bringing that link here Robert. It seems Richard didn't notice that his had expired.

Yes, they were talking about the brain myth on tv a few years ago and they showed how all the brain functioned by using different colours. Most parts of the brain lit up when they applied a test to a specific area. I'm thinking it was the MRI machine.

Originally Posted by Robert
Another reason children are more prone to dehydration through sweating is the square-cube law; kids have a much higher surface-area:body-mass ratio than adults.
Say what? Square-cube law? Is that another myth like the square-root? They almost had me fooled on that one. j/k I've never heard of the square-cube law. But I'll take your word for it.

Last edited by Terrie; 04-29-2008 at 07:58.
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