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10 lies my mother told me
Posted Thursday, June 30, 2005 6/30/2005 08:28:00 PM

Don't worry Mom I'm not going to reveal any dark family secrets. Rather I'm looking more for lies that everyone's mother has told them at one point or another. I guess they are not really lies because my mother (and your mother) were told these same incorrect facts by their mothers. I'm talking about old wife's tales. Although I really don't get the phrase. Why old wives? What about young fathers. I'm sure my father told me a tale or two. Anyway, on with the subject at hand.

Mom: Don't go swimming for an hour after you eat or you'll get cramps and die.
There has never been a reported case of death due to cramping while swimming. Muscle cramps in the calves, feet, and hands and oxygen-deprivation stomach cramps while swimming are not uncommon but have never been linked to a death. Mom: Don't cross your eyes. They'll get stuck.
Intentionally crossing the eyes is never a cause of strabismus (crossed eyes); the eyes cannot get "stuck" in a crossed position. Mom: Don't watch TV with the lights off. It will hurt your eyes.
In general you should limit the amount of TV you watch as it can be harmful to your eyes. However, ophthalmologists generally agree that watching TV in the dark doesn't cause any more harm than watching TV with lots of light.
Mom: You can't have any of my coffee. It will stunt your growth.
There is no compelling evidence that drinking coffee at a young age can stunt growth. Matter of fact a 30 year study of coffee drinkers showed no evidence of repressed growth. Mom: Don't eat spicy foods. You'll get ulcers.
90% of ulcers are caused by a Helicobacter pylori bacterial infection. Neither stress nor spicy foods cause ulcers. But in some cases they can make ulcers worse.
Mom: Eat your carrots. It will improve your eyesight.
This one is debatable. Carrots are a good supply of Vitamin A which is important for healthy eyesight there is no evidence that eyesight will improve. Mom: Put on a coat or you'll catch a cold.
Cold air does not cause a cold people do. A cold is a virus contracted through contact with other people. The reason for this myth appears to be that during cold weather people tend to stay indoors more; thereby increasing personal contact with others.
Mom: Don't play with that toad, you'll get warts.
Toads do not have (or give) warts. Warts are caused by human papilloma virus. This is a human virus that is not carried or transported by other animals. The odd bumps on the back of a toad are not warts they are to help camouflage them in their natural habitat.
Mom: Don't swallow your gum it will take 7 years to digest.
Gum, or anything else you swallow, will pass typically in a days time. Swallowing gum is not considered healthy but it definitely won't get stuck.
Mom: Don't crack your knuckles. You'll get arthritis.
Probably not but mother was closes on this one. There doesn't appear to be any conclusive evidence either way regarding arthritis but it appears that there is some weak correlation that knuckle-cracking causes some damage to the hand.
There you have it. Thanks to the internet we can finally break this long chain of myths and our children can become the coatless gangs of caffeinated knuckle cracking cross-eyed kids we always wanted to be. Oh, yeah.... and whacking it wont make you blind either.

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