Thursday, July 28, 2011

Medical Myths

“Fire, water and government know nothing of mercy.”
- unknown
I just started a new lecture series on CD titled, Medical Myths, Lies, and Half Truths: What We Think We Know May Be Hurting Us. So far I've enjoyed the first disc. Much better than the prior series on the Dead Sea Scrolls which used a lot of words to say very little.

Amusingly the first topic on the Medical Myths was hiccups which I discussed two days ago in this blog. Dr. Novella dismisses all the folk remidies and says medical research only endorses three drugs and direct neural stimulation or blocking for serious cases of hiccups which won't stop.

His second lecture covers hydration - do we really need to drink 8 cups of water a day? No. An old government guideline recommended 64-80 oz of water a day. But 20% of this will come from the food you eat. This leaves 6 1/2 cups which most people will drink normally.

Does coffee and caffinated sodas count as water? Many say no, but the professor says yes. The caffine will cause more peeing but not enough to cancel out all the water in the beverage. So perhaps it can count as 80% of a cup?

Another tidbit. The higher the elevation, the drier the air. At 6000 ft you exhale twice as much moisture as normal. At 10,000 ft, three times as much. This explains why people who fly experience thirst and why dehyration is serious for hikers and climbers in the mountains.

Bottom Line

For more information see my earlier blog:

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