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Christmas Medical Myths Debunked!

Dec 25th 2009
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Christmas is here!

I’m back home spending time with family and kids, and about to get busy in the kitchen! On my way home, I was reminded of my time as an intern when we incessantly talk about being on duty during the holidays – that there are more people going insane during this season; that kids are hyperactive; and that this is the season to gain weight.

But how much of those are true? Because while it makes sense that more people go insane during this season, there are still people going insane regardless of whatever season! Is there really a study conducted to support this?

This curiosity lead me to search for the answers on the net.

Anyway, this is what I found:

In a study published in 2008, the following festive medical myths have been debunked

* Sugar makes kids hyperactive.
* Suicides increase over the holidays.
* Poinsettias are toxic.
* You lose most of your body heat through your head.
* Eating at night makes you fat.
* You can cure a hangover with…

Let’s go through this briefly:

Sugar makes kids hyperactive

None of these studies, not even studies looking specifically at children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, could detect any differences in behaviour between the children who had sugar and those who did not. In fact, some parents perceive their kids as being hyperactive even though they haven’t been fed any sugar.

Suicides increase during the holidays

Now this is where studies differ.

In a study in Japan, they found that suicide rates are lowest in the days before a holiday and highest after a holiday. They attribute it to having more emotional and social support during the holidays.

On the other hand, a study in the US showed no difference in the rates of suicide before, during and after the holidays; but they did notice an increase in psychiatric visits before and after the holidays.

I guess it is safe to say that we can’t assume that there will be an increase of influx of the depressed and troubled during this season.

Poinsettias are toxic

In plain in simple terms, studies show that this is not true.

To be continued

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