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As gastroenterologist Dr. Rodger Liddle of the Duke University School of Medicine explained to Scientific American: "Nothing would reside that long unless it was so large it couldn't get out of the stomach or it was trapped in the intestine.


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Chewing gum passes through the digestive system like any other food. Your body is able to break down some of the gum's components, such as sweeteners and oil derivatives, but the gum's rubber or latex base gets churned out in a matter of days.

What Is an Old Wives' Tale?

However, this doesn't mean you should start swallowing your chewing gum regularly in several reported cases, doctors had to remove taffylike wads of gum from children's bowels. Swallowing a lot of chewing gum in a relatively short amount of time, it seems, can cause the pieces to accumulate and stuff up the digestive tract, causing constipation. Cats always seem to get a bad rap. Perhaps one of the most commonly held beliefs about cats right behind the one that says that black cats are bad luck is that cats will suck the breath from infants, ultimately killing them.

There are two prevailing ideas to explain why your cat would want to suffocate your new bundle of joy: Cats love milk and are drawn to the smell of a baby's milky breath, and cats supposedly get extremely jealous when babies usurp your attention away from them. While a cat could accidentally suffocate a sleeping baby by cozying up too close to its face, experts agree it's highly unlikely a cat would smother an infant on purpose. Reports of cat-caused infant deaths are scarce, so how did this tale become so common?

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One case from years ago may have given this tale all the oomph it needed to reach its current scare level. In the Annual Register, a publication that records the year's interesting events, there is an entry for Jan. Adding to this report is the fact that cats have long been thought of as the familiars of witches, so if parents or even coroners found an infant dead with a cat nearby, the cat was automatically blamed for the incident.

Nowadays, however, we know that otherwise healthy babies can die without any known causes, an occurrence known as sudden infant death syndrome. For decades, doctors thought eating a lot of spicy food caused stomach ulcers, or painful sores on the lining of the esophagus, stomach or upper area of the small intestine. It certainly made sense, as patients would often complain of burning stomach pains after eating spicy food.

The treatment: a strict diet of bland food which didn't actually get rid of the ulcer pain.

Old Wives' Tales and Other Women's Stories [9781860643866]

But in the s, scientists put this old wives' tale to rest at least in the medical community a lot of people still believe this one. Studies showed that spicy food doesn't cause ulcers, though it can irritate existing ulcers, which explains the misunderstanding. The real culprit behind the majority of ulcers, researchers found, was the bacterium Helicobacter pylori.

When H. Ulcers then develop as the bacteria colonize the stomach. Today's ulcer treatments usually involve antibiotics to kill the infection, but recent research has shown that cranberry juice may be effective, too. Interestingly, cranberry juice has long been a part of another popular and possibly true tale asserting that the tart drink effectively fights bladder infections. The mechanism behind both treatments is thought to be the same: Compounds in cranberry juice prevent bacteria from adhering to the cells lining the urinary tract and prevent H.

As strange as this tale sounds, there is a lot of anecdotal evidence to back it up. Many people posting to online health forums swear by this home remedy, claiming that unwrapped soap bars cured them of their nightly leg cramps.

7 Creepy Old Wives' Tales You NEED to Remember

The soapy cure has gained such a following that it was even brought up on the daytime talk show, "The Doctors," where Dr. Jim Sears conducted a Twitter poll and 42 percent of his responders said they've successfully used soap to relieve nighttime leg cramps. However, there is no scientific research that supports this treatment, as Dr. Sears himself found when he reviewed the scientific literature. Similar anecdotal evidence exists for preventing restless leg syndrome RLS with soap, but on a smaller scale.

On another popular medical talk show, "The Dr. Oz Show," Dr. Mehmet Oz recommended placing a bar of lavender soap beneath the bed sheets to alleviate RLS, hypothesizing that the smell of lavender is relaxing in itself and may be beneficial for the condition. However, there are no peer-reviewed studies that suggest lavender or lavender soap can successfully treat RLS.

Feminist Re-Visions of Film and Other Fictions

So if you're suffering from nightly leg cramps or RLS, perhaps you should try placing a bar of soap under your sheets near your feet. Even though science has yet to show that these treatments work, what have you got to lose? Just don't try Dove or Dial those soaps don't work, according to many online testimonies. Your guess is as good as any. If you shave your legs, underarms or any other part of your body, it may appear that your hair grows back thicker and coarser. But it doesn't. The hair shaft naturally tapers at the end, so what you typically see are the thinnest portions of your hair.

When you shave, however, you are crossing the midshaft and exposing the thicker part of the hair, making it seem as if each individual strand is taking up a bit more space. Moreover, the stubble feels stiffer because it's shorter and cut straight across body hair feels softer as it gets longer. Even the apparent darkening of the cut hair is an illusion it appears darker because you are now seeing the hair dots directly against the backdrop of your normal skin color.

Scientists have actually conducted studies to test whether shaving affects hair growth. In a study published in the journal Anatomical Record, forensic anthropologist Mildred Trotter found that shaving has no effect on hair's color, texture or growth rate. More recently, research published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology also looked at this tale. This well-known tale asserts that for every child a woman has, she is bound to lose a tooth, mostly because of how hormonal changes during pregnancy affect oral health.

While there may not be a one-to-one ratio between the number of children a woman has and the number of teeth she loses, studies have actually found a link between pregnancy and dental issues. In , a study of more than 2, pregnant women by the New York University College of Dentistry found that as her number of children increases, so does the mother's risk of losing teeth.

The wisdom of The Old Wives’ Tale

More children also equated to a greater risk of developing periodontal disease. There are several things that could cause affect a pregnant woman's oral health. Some are morning sickness vomiting erodes tooth enamel ; dry mouth from hormonal changes less saliva increases the risk of cavities ; and an increased desire for sugary and starchy foods which can deteriorate teeth. The other tests that sounded completely nuts were the ones where you grabbed a key from a certain part, and the cutlery under the chair. As this is my third pregnancy I compared all three week scans and all had the nub at the same angle.

I must admit my cynicism was rocked by the ring test. It was amazing to see my wedding ring go from being stationary on the thread to spinning in a circle, and I have to admit there was something about it that felt very spiritual — plus it was accurate for me. She paid privately for the gender scan after convincing herself she was having a boy and wanting to feel a deeper connection to the baby. Single Megan, from Banstead, Surrey, who works in marketing and is 30 weeks pregnant, says:. This baby was a huge surprise as I was on the contraceptive pill and after years of polycystic ovary syndrome doctors assumed my body was incapable of a full-term pregnancy.

All the tests are interesting, but I find the Mayan birth dates and the ring test particularity exciting as they seem more mystical. Married Ludovica found out she was having a little boy at her week scan and was very excited to take part and see how accurate the tests were. The shape of my own bump and its impact on the sex of my child had never crossed my mind, but it was accurate for me, which is cool. I absolutely loved the ring test, because it started to swing from side to side after being completely still.

When I did the Mayan numbers with the girls at the shoot it was remarkable how accurate it was. There must be something in that one. Personally I could never just rely on these tests, as fun as they are, to tell me the sex of my child.