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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Myth Buster: This blog busts medical myths

One of the things I like to do on this blog is shed light on medical myths.  As you'll learn from reading my Hardluck Asthma: History of Asthma, 98 percent of medical history is a myth.  Many of these myths continue to this day.  Some myths, such as the hypoxic drive theory, are myths of our own making.

In the broadest definition of the term, a myth is a story with a meaning attached to it other than it seems to have at first; and the fact that it has such a meaning is generally marked by some of its circumstances being extraordinary.  According to, a myth is also  an invented story, idea or concept."

Myths are generally believed to be facts, as in the ancient world a myth had it that all diseases were caused by angry gods or evil spirits.  This same type of myth was believed all the way to the 20th century, and many places still today.

A general knowledge of classical mythology, and modern theories, as a key to the origin and meaning of modern wisdom, and as an aid in the interpretation of the meaning of many of what we do today in the medical profession.  Since the literature, the theories, and the art of any nation or profession is dependent, in a sense, on its body of legend and stored-up experience, it would seem a happy obligation to encourage science and let the myths fade into oblivion.  Yet in the real world, the myths continue to this day, and are worshiped as scientific facts.

Yet at the same time, it's important to understand these old myths in order to understand the current healthcare system.  Yet at the same time, it's important to understand the difference between myth and truth, legend and facts, theories and proven facts, allegories and science.

A theory in a way is also a myth, as it is unproven.  However, like myths, theories tend to be believed as facts.  In this sense, many people tend to confuse facts with theories.  For example, the hypoxic drive theory is a myth that is worshiped by many in the medical community.  The theory that ventolin will cure all annoying lung sounds is also a myth worshiped like an ancient god.

So myths are abounding in healthcare to this day.  Even in politics we have many myths, as the idea that raising taxes will generate wealth is also an unproven myth, and many studies show that cutting taxes creates more wealth than raising them, because lowering taxes creates more tax payers.  Yet the evidence will continue to come in.

It is the basis of this blog that you know what a theory is, what a myth is, and what facts are.  And that while you are practicing as physicians, nurses and respiratory therapists, you will keep this in mind as you go about your business of helping people get better.

Some myths we have busted on this blog:

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