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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Medical myths: tryptophan, shaving, and ruining your eyes

I always like the dispelling of myths and urban legends and have been a long-time user of one of the premier sites: The NY Times had a nice soft-news piece on medical myths, from a study done at the University of Indiana, covering myths that had been passed along by doctors (the latter being the story's hook), among others.

Things I learned:
  • You feel tired on Thanksgiving because you ate a lot, not because of turkey's tryptophan. In fact, chicken and beef have as much of the sleep-related chemical; cheese and pork have more.
  • Shaving hair doesn't make it darker or coarser. It's just that the hair coming in has not been bleached by sunlight and doesn't have the fine taper of an unshaven hair.
  • Reading in dim light is fine. While it may be uncomfortable, it won't cause any permanent damage to your eyes.

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