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Learn the truth about some common medical myths.
Learn the truth about some common medical myths.

UAMS Mythbusters – Fact or Fiction??

Everyone has heard them before. It may have been your grandmother, an uncle or one of the kids on your block. They are medical myths -- beliefs that for one reason or another have been trusted for years. Some are actually based on fact but most are simply misunderstood concepts about health and the body.
Our UAMS mythbusters have investigated the truth behind some of the more popular myths. Here’s the real deal about these medical myths.

Does your heart stop when you cough or sneeze? 

Does your heart stop when you cough or sneeze?

Does eating late at night make you fat?

When it comes to weight gain or loss, it is not the time of day that makes the difference — it’s what you are consuming. And most people tend to veg out on high-calorie foods while unwinding in front of the TV after a long, stressful day

“Typically, people who are eating at night have probably consumed an evening meal, so then their night eating would entail snack items like ice cream, cookies, popcorn or chips,” says Betsy Day, UAMS Weight Loss Clinic Manager. “And most of the time this eating is associated with another activity like watching TV and playing on the computer, which leads to mindless eating and, typically, over consumption.”

Can drinking a lot of hot, black coffee help you sober up after drinking a lot of alcohol?

This question has been discussed by everyone from college students to respected scientists, probably for generations. Like many medical 
myths there is some “truth” to this notion. However, UAMS’ Department of Emergency Medicine says it’s important to know that coffee cannot reverse the effects of alcohol.

Coffee cannot ‘sober you up.’ It does not get rid of alcohol from the system. If you have an alcohol level above the legal limit, you can drink all the coffee you want and the alcohol level will not magically fall faster than it would have if you had not drunk the coffee. That said, there must have been some effect produced by the coffee that has led people to believe that there is an effect. This has been extensively studied, and it appears that the effect is due to a partial reversal of the sedating effect of the alcohol. Persons who were below the legal limit for driving were tested, with and without coffee. They appeared to perform better on tests of concentration after the coffee than before.

Does an apple a day keep the doctor away?

“An apple a day will keep the doctor away.” Most of us have heard this popular health tidbit at least once in our lives. But, is this advice too good to be true?
UAMS family physician Dr. Daniel Knight explains that apples are a good source of fiber, are helpful for keeping good colon health, and can help in weight control. However, they will not necessarily keep the doctor away.
“An apple a day can be a good idea if it replaces less healthy foods,” he says. “If you are replacing high-fructose corn syrup or other high calorie, high carbohydrate foods with an apple, this would be very healthy.”
Dr. Knights says that an apple a day should not keep you from visiting the doctor regularly. Read Dr. Knight’s advice on doctor’s visits.

Is ice better than heat to treat an injury?

Your child sprains his ankle during a soccer game. Do you apply heat or ice to the injury? For most people, the logical answer is to apply an ice pack to the injured area. But, do all injuries or pain need cold?
UAMS physical therapist Gayle Quattlebaum says that most of the time, ice is the better choice. “When in doubt, ice is better unless there is compromised circulation in that area. Ice is usually the method of choice to decrease inflammation, swelling and pain, which is commonly associated with an acute injury.” Read more. 

To learn more, visit the UAMS Health Library