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Sunday, June 22, 2014

Health Scares -- Are They Real or Just Media Hype?

Health scares can be seen in the media weekly. They are enough to send many people running to the doctor, hospital, or just away. But how do you know which ones are real, and which ones are mostly hype?

5 health scares you can ignore

#1 Cell phones can lead to brain cancer - while it is true that researchers found that some people with brain tumors also had a habit of being on their cell phones frequently, there is absolutely no medical or scientific proof that cell phones cause brain damage.

#2 MMR vaccine causes autism - MMR is the vaccine given to children to prevent them from getting measles, mumps and rubella. A British medical journalist in 1998 stated that the vaccine could cause undigested nutrients to leak into the intestines and to the brain, causing autism. However, the theory was thoroughly researched by the U.S. Centers For Disease Control who found no relationship between the two.

#3 Nitrates in meat cause cancer - this scare dates back to 1970. First of all, there are .5 to 1.0 milligrams in a cooked hot dog. The body naturally makes 70-100 milligrams of nitrates a day, which means you'd have to eat a ton of hot dogs and other meats containing nitrates to cause any harm.

#4 Mercury in fish can cause brain damage - some fish such as swordfish, shark and king mackerel, do have a higher content of mercury, which some researchers say can cause brain damage in infants and fetuses. But the scare is blown out of proportion; it is based on one 1997 study in the Faroe Islands. Fish is actually a tremendous source of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), a type of omega-3 fatty acid that can prevent cardiovascular disease by 36 percent.

#5 Plastic water bottles can harm you - it's true that plastic bottles contain low doses of a chemical called bisphenol A, otherwise known as BPA. Researchers found that BPA can be absorbed into food and water. However, it is at the rate of one tenth of a microgram per day. The limits established by the USDA are 3.6 micrograms a day. While it's good to know the potential danger, it is by no means a health scare.

How to avoid health scares

Do research. Read more than one web site that includes reputable medical sources.
DISCLAIMER: The content or opinions expressed on this web site are not to be interpreted as medical advice. Please consult with your doctor or medical practictioner before utilizing any suggestions on this web site.