Vaccines can cause autism
This myth was started by a 1998 article in which the parents of 8 (yep…eight) autistic children said they believed their children acquired autism after they received a measles, mumps and rubella vaccination, and since then, rumors have run rampant despite many studies — such as a 2002 study in the New England Journal of Medicine of 530,000 (now that’s more like it…!) children — which found nothing to suggest that vaccinations increase the risk of becoming autistic.
Supplements always make you healthier
An increasing number of studies are finding that vitamin supplementation may not only be ineffectual but may even be dangerous, primarily because the FDA does not require supplements to be regulated in the same way that drugs are. This means the bottles can sport unsubstantiated claims and even make errors in dosage recommendations. The best way to get the vitamins & minerals your body needs is by eating them in healthy foods. If you do believe vitamins are needed because of the earth's soils mineral depletion, get them from the health food store, reputable online health supplement providers, or from your chiropractor/wellness professional. Pharmaceutical grade is best.
Cold weather makes you sick
"This myth is common around the world, but it is just not true," says Dr. Vreeman. Some scientists speculate that it may have gotten traction because colds are more common in cooler months when people stay indoors more, interacting more closely with one another and giving germs more opportunities to spread.
We use only 10% of our brains
We’ve debunked this myth before on the show; as we said at the time, if you believe this one, go have 90% of your brain removed and see what happens.
According to Dr. Vreeman, and everyone who studies brain function, one look at any brain scan measuring activity at any given time, and you’ll chuckle this myth into oblivion.
Sugar makes kids hyper
It’s hard to find a parent who does not believe this, Vreeman said. "But it’s all in their heads."
In one study published in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology back in 1994—kids were given Kool-Aid sweetened with aspartame, which as we all know contains no sugar. Researchers told half of the parents the Kool-Aid contained sugar, and told the other half the truth. The parents who thought their kids were riding a sugar-high reported their children were uncontrollable and overactive. But a sensor on the kids' wrists, that measured activity level, showed the opposite: The kids were actually more subdued.
What’s really happening is this: Sugar is often given at times like birthday parties and holidays when the rules are loosened and there are lots of other kids around — these two factors are most likely the cause .
You need to stay awake if you have a concussion
Warnings to stay awake after a concussion most likely grew out of a misunderstanding about a particular type of head injury — one that involves brain bleeding — where a "lucid period" is followed by a coma or worse. But this is very uncommon and doesn't pertain to people with normal concussions.
According to Dr. Vreeman: "If you've been evaluated by a doctor, and she/he has said that you have a mild regular concussion, you don't need to worry that someone has to wake you up every hour."
Chewing gum stays in your stomach for 7 years
While it is true that many of the ingredients in gum are indigestible, that does not mean they hang out in our guts for years and years.
Gum passes right through your digestive tract like any other substance you ingest.
Reading in the dark or sitting too close to the TV ruins your eyesight
Dim light, or alternatively, staring into the TV screen at close range, can undoubtedly make your eyes work so hard they hurt. But there is no evidence that these practices cause long-term damage, says Dr. Vreeman.
The TV myth may have started in the 1960s, a time at which it may have been true. Some early color TV sets emitted high amounts of radiation that could have caused eye damage, but this problem has long been remedied.
You need to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day
"In general, we are not all walking around in a dehydrated state, and our bodies are very good at regulating our fluid levels,” says the doc.
The eight-glasses-a-day myth likely started in 1945 when the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Research Council said adults should take in about 2.5 liters of water a day (equivalent to about eight glasses). Most media outlets reported only that, when in fact the council went on to explain that most of the 2.5 liters comes from food.
The recommendation is actually: Drink, or eat, about eight glasses of fluid a day (like, say, in fruits and veggies).
You should wait an hour after eating before you go swimming
Although it’s true, any type of vigorous exercise can be uncomfortable after a feast, for most of us — whose pool-side or beach blanket dining is usually a sandwich & chips— this is hardly a concern.