4 health myths that need to disappear in 2020

It’s one thing to believe in something entirely harmless.

But health myths often aren’t harmless: they can trick you out of your money, or even worse, cause you and others physical harm.

Here are some health myths we need to stop believing in. It’s time.

Vaccines cause autism

Let’s just get this one out of the way. In 2010, the Lancet retracted a 12-year-old paper by Andrew Wakefield that suggested a link between the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine and autism.

Scientists had long been questioning the study, saying his sample size was too small and they couldn’t replicate the findings. It also came out that Wakefield carefully selected the children on whom he reported, and some of his research was funded by lawyers who were acting for parents suing vaccine manufacturers.

He’s since lost his medical licence.

Unfortunately, the damage was done. Measles has made a huge comeback, with current outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ukraine, the Philippines, Greece and many, many other countries.

In early December, the World Health Organization said more than 140,000 people worldwide died from measles in 2018, something the organization’s director general called an “outrage.”The WHO has also called vaccine hesitancy one of the world’s top threats to public health.

And despite lots of research, scientists have been unable to find any link between vaccines and autism. Study after study, including one this year that involved nearly every child born in Denmark over an 11-year period, has shown that there is no link between the two.

This belief hasn’t gone away though, and it’s time it did.

Vaping is risk-free

As of Dec. 4, 2019, 2,291 Americans have been hospitalized due to some kind of illness that may be related to their vaping habit, the Centers for Disease Control reported. Forty-eight people have died.

Thirteen cases of vaping-related illness have been reported in Canada as of Dec. 3.

It’s still unclear exactly what is causing the problem. Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration suggested it’s a chemical called vitamin E acetate that could be found in certain liquids, especially ones containing THC, one of the active ingredients in cannabis.

Public health officials have since told people not to vape if they’re not already smokers and have been expressing alarm at the activity’s popularity among teenagers.

There’s one important thing to note here: vaping is definitely safer than smoking. Around 45,000 deaths are linked to smoking every year in Canada, according to a study by the Conference Board of Canada. So far, no deaths in Canada have been linked to vaping.

Just because something is safer than smoking doesn’t make it good, though. Since smoking is one of the riskiest things you can do to your health, pretty much everything is safer than smoking.

Rest will help your back pain

It won’t. This goes for neck pain, too — several studies have now found that regular, gentle exercise is the best way to get back on your feet when you have lower back pain or neck pain.

Bed rest is about the worst thing you can do, Doug Gross, a professor of physical therapy at the University of Alberta who co-authored a major study published in the Lancet, told Global News in 2018.

Regular exercise can also help to prevent back pain in the first place, he said.

Unfortunately, his research showed that even clinicians often suggest someone stay home and rest until they’re pain-free.

Prescription painkillers are also not a great idea: some studies have shown that opioids aren’t any better than ordinary Tylenol or Advil when it comes to treating back pain and can come with added side effects and a risk of addiction.

Cannabis can cure everything

Cannabis is legal now, and that means the drug and its derivatives, like cannabidiol (CBD), are in all kinds of products that claim to help you relax, dull anxiety symptoms, relieve pain and more.

The problem is, from a scientific point of view, we just don’t know if these things are true.

Because cannabis was illegal for so long, there wasn’t much medical research on its properties. We haven’t done the studies, experts say, so we don’t know all that much about what cannabis does and doesn’t do.

Earlier this year, a literature review came to more or less that conclusion about using cannabis or CBD to help treat anxiety and depression: doctors definitely don’t know enough to be recommending it as a general treatment, and there is even some evidence that it might be harmful for these conditions.

Don’t worry, though — researchers are definitely on the case. Two major research centres have been set up at McMaster University and McGill University in the last little while, and lots of people across the country are looking into the medical potential of cannabis.

Source: global news

Author: Leslie Young

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