Creative Content

Fact or Fiction?

Written By – Brian OuYong Ming

The internet is packed with medical myths which often causes fear and misconception by the public. These facts often cause chaos and contradiction in the medical field. Despite the research and the success of evidence-based medicine, these myths persist to capture the minds of many innocent readers, who are just trying to gain some knowledge on the web. Below are 3 common myths that are present to this day.

Vaccines cause Autism.

This myth began in 1998 and was mentioned in an article, The Lancet. In the article, 8 siblings were diagnosed with autism after receiving a vaccination for measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR). However, there was no evidence that there was any linkage between vaccination and autism. Since then, the field of immunology has ramped up its research regarding the coincidence and a study in the New England Journal of medicine which included 530,000 participants showed that none of the patients who were vaccinated with the MMR vaccine developed autism. Yes, vaccines do contain an attenuated form of a pathogen which is in fact not dead. However, decades of research has proved that vaccines came to the rescue is many disease outbreaks such as polio. 

Carrots promote night vision 

This myth was begun by the Air Ministry in WW2, where a rumor said that the British Air Force had excellent night vision after incorporating a lot of carrots in their diet. If only this were true, rabbits would be superheroes too! The main contributor to better eyesight is the carotene present in carrots. It allows light to be converted into a signal which is then transmitted to the brain. Our body uses carotene to make vitamin A, which is fat-soluble. Therefore, for it to be effective, it should be consumed with fat to allow efficient absorption. There are lots of other foods with high carotene content such as sweet potato, cantaloupe, pumpkin, and apricots.

Gum stays in you for 7 years 

This is a classic myth, that misses the points by a long shot. The gum contains indigestible ingredients such as elastomers, resins, and waxes. However, much of our diet also indigestible such as fiber. Our digestive system is extremely specialized and is designed to ensure that anything indigestible passed through safely. An article by the Mayo Clinic shows that only a large amount of gum swallowed may lead to possible blocked intestines in children. However, a small amount when accidentally ingested will be excreted in the stool.

Reference

  1. https://www.livescience.com/36100-10-medical-myths.html
  2. https://www.medexpress.com/about/newsroom/press-releases-media-coverage/medexpress-health-myths.html
  3. https://www.mayoclinic.org/digestive-system/expert-answers/faq-20058446

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