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We Only Use 10 Percent of Our Brains, and Other Myths

Seven commonplace medical beliefs are subjected to scrutiny and found wanting

FRIDAY, Dec. 21 (HealthDay News) -- The belief that people need to drink eight glasses of water a day is widely held but unsupported by evidence, as is the belief that we only use 10 percent of our brains, according to an article in the Dec. 22 issue of BMJ.

Rachel C. Vreeman, M.D., of the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, and a colleague used Medline and Google to research a list of seven medical truisms.

Other medical myths that either have not been proved or that have been proved false are the beliefs that human hair and fingernails continue to grow after death, reading in dim light damages eyesight, shaving causes hair to grow back faster or coarser, mobile phones are dangerous in hospitals and eating turkey makes people especially drowsy.

"While belief in the described myths is unlikely to cause harm, recommending medical treatment for which there is little evidence certainly can," the authors conclude. "Speaking from a position of authority, as physicians do, requires constant evaluation of the validity of our knowledge."

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Physician's Briefing
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