Medical Myths Debunked

9/21/2008 ORLANDO, Fla. Everywhere you go, people have cell phones to their ears! Last year alone, people in the United States used more than two-trillion cell phone minutes! But can all that time with the gadget next to your head cause brain cancer?

"There's no evidence to show that cell phones cause cancer," Vijay Reddy, M.D., a hematologist and oncologist at Florida Hospital Cancer Institute in Orlando, Fla., told Ivanhoe. "The radiofrequency that the cell phones emit is much lower than some of the standard devices that we use everyday in our daily lives such as microwaves."

Another common belief -- many think once brain cells die, they're gone for good; but there's good news! We do grow new brain cells. "What we think happens is that people who really keep their brains very active build up a cognitive reserve," Cynthia Holzer, M.D., director of Geriatric Education at Roger Williams Medical Center in Providence, R.I., told Ivanhoe. The best way to do it? Exercise for 30 minutes, read or play a musical instrument.

Gaining weight is a big fear for many women. Some fear the scale so much they won't take birth control pills; but gynecologist D. Ashley Hill, M.D., says not to worry. "The modern birth control pills we have do not cause any weight gain, weight loss or any change in weight at all," Dr. Hill, medical director of the Loch Haven OB/GYN Group at Florida Hospital in Orlando, Fla., told Ivanhoe. Today's low-dose birth control pills have 20 to 30 micrograms of estrogen while oral contraceptives in the 19-60s had up to 150 micrograms!

With the cold weather season behind us, you'll probably be tossing out your old cold medicine; but is cold weather really to blame for your sore throat and runny nose? No! This, too, is a myth. "The fact that children get sick is a fact of life," Vinny Chulani, M.D., a pediatrician at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando, Fla., told Ivanhoe. Experts say the only way to get sick is through direct contact with the virus -- like by coughing or sneezing. So the next time you hear another one of these pesky rumors, be sure to check the facts.

Don't ignore everything you hear! Sometimes strange things might actually be true. Did you know toothpaste can zap zits by absorbing oil? Or, did you know eating poppy seed muffins can make you fail a drug test? Poppy seeds contain small traces of opiates that are also found in drugs like morphine and codeine.

Florida Hospital Cancer Institute
Orlando, FL
(800) 375-7761


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