Authored by Jon Mercer in Science
Published on 01-26-2009
In the year 2008, Scientists proved that many popular beliefs in our culture are plainly untrue. Here are a few of the myths that science has debunked in 2008. Poinsettias flowers were once believed to be toxic to people and animals, but poison control centers across the land do not support this claim. The beautiful red and white flowers have long been a staple of the holiday season, and for years there have been unfounded reports of the plant being poisonous; however the Indiana University School of Medicine reviewed nearly 900 calls to poison control centers reporting poinsettia consumption and found that none of the incidents resulted in serious illness, in fact, few produced any symptoms at all.
Sugar consumption and hyperactivity; for years this has been a popular myth among parents. Many parents see their children behaving in an ill-mannered fashion and immediately assume that the child has over-done his or her share of sweets. But studies show that children who consume large quantities of sugar are no more hyper-active than children who don’t consume much sugar at all.
Other myths that have been disproved are that not wearing a hat causes one to lose excessive body heat. Also the claim that eating at night makes you more likely to add on extra pounds. Scientists have also proven that there is no effective cure for a hangover.
In the 1950’s and 60’s, before the advent of birth-control pills, it was a popular misconception that douching with Coca-Cola would prevent unwanted pregnancy. Scientists have proven this to be false as well. Dr. Deborah Anderson of Boston University School of Medicine says that Coca-Cola can impede the mobility of sperm in a test tube, but that the sperm gets to the cervical canal so quickly that for it to be effective the Coke would have to be put into the vagina before sexual intercourse, which could prove to be very messy.
Although there are many other myths and urban-legends that have yet to be disproved, scientists are on top of the myth-busting game. Every time you hear a claim that is not scientifically proven, chances are that it is completely bogus.
Scientists continue to disprove myths for the common good of mankind; and although there are not many instances reported where these myths actually cause serious damage, occasionally certain myths can be dangerous to the general public, or at the very least, cause unnecessary worry or give false hope.