False myths die hard
A lot of ideas about biology and human behavior still persist among people — including scientists — even though scientific evidence proves them to be false. Scientists should work to discredit myths, but they also have the responsibility to prevent new ones from arising. How? By understanding the reason why they take hold in the first place and why they become so rooted and persistent. Some dangerous myths got dispelled. Nevertheless, many others still keep on swirling about, harming people, squandering economic resources, mudding scientific discoveries — or simply, getting on scientists’ nerves. Nature polled doctors and scientists to investigate which medical myths they find most frustrating. Here’s what emerged.
1) Vaccines causing autism: although there are some collateral effects linked to vaccines, the connection to neurological disorders has been debunked many times over.
2) Paracetamol (acetaminophen) works through well-known mechanisms: despite being widely used, there are only hints as to how its and many other common active ingredients actually work.
3) The brain is separated from the immune system: the brain has its own immune cells. Furthermore, a lymphatic system connecting it to the body’s immune system has been recently discovered.