It’s been an exciting week because Dr. Aaron E. Carroll and Dr. Rachel C. Vreeman have teamed up again on the New York Times Well blog to give us more amazing health myths. It’s been over a year and a half since their last publication in the British Medical Journal “Seven Medical Myths Even Doctors Believe,” inspiration for our Bust-A-Health-Myth series. Not only that, Carroll and Vreeman written a book called “Don’t Swallow Your Gum” (for those of you that just can’t get enough of our health myths). Without further ado, today’s health myth: Cold weather makes you sick.
This is one health myth that I have tried to debunk for several years. No one believes me! Ever heard your mom say, “Jonny, get out of the cold rain and put your jacket on. You’ll catch a cold!” Yes, I’ve heard it too. There are several potential origins of the common misconception that cold weather makes you sick:
This is proof folks, two doctors agree. Studies show that people who are chilled are no more likely to get sick than those who are not. This is a classic case of correlation, not causality. Both the common cold and seasonal flu are transmitted by viruses (Rhinovirus and Influenza A, B, C). It is surmised that the cold weather is more likely to keep people indoors, where people are more likely to catch and transmit germs from one person to another. People are in close contact with each other for longer periods of time, and air is constantly circulating due to heaters being left on. Translation: a viral transmission paradise. Furthermore, in tropical areas close to the Equator where it is rare to have a super cold day, cold and flu season generally occurs during the rainy season. Yet again, a time when people tend to stay indoors. Coincidence? I doubt it.
One caveat which I must point out goes along with myth origin #3. Studies do show that the lowering of one’s body temperature may make one less resistant to a cold or flu virus. Classic ways to lower one’s body temperature include going outside with wet hair or wet feet. Another way to lower your immunity is to not get enough sleep. HOWEVER, in both cases, you MUST come in contact with the virus in order to catch it! That means, stay around healthy folks despite cold weather, wet hair, and lack of sleep, and you’re good to go.
Cold weather and the sniffles…busted!
Thanks to my good friend Andre Blackman, author of Pulse+Signal and co-author for our new blog healthGAMERS, I was able to contribute to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s new Guest Blogger Series: Views on Increasing the Use of Digital Games for Health. This week, The Pioneer Portfolio wants to engage individuals outside of the Foundation in a dialogue about what they believe needs to done to increase the effective use of digital games for the purpose of supporting health and healthcare goals.
Check out our response entitled Developing and Sustaining Health Games — A Losing Battle?. Expect additional thoughts in this amazing series from folks like Richard Tate of HopeLab, Ann Thai of Joan Ganz Cooney, Anastasia Goodstein of YPulse, Greg Matthews of Humana Games and Nedra Weinreich of Spare Change. What a line-up! Feel free to weigh in yourself and tell Pioneering Ideas what you think. Heck, let Monster’s Blog know too!
This excerpt comes from the newest release from the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, the group responsible for the original research that formed Sesame Street. It’s an amazing report that is a must read for all interested in child health or video games for health.
“As the President and Congress seek to reform the health care system and address the glaring gaps in our nation’s educational performance, the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop released a report today that specifies how increased national investment in research-based digital games can play a cost-effective and transformative role. The report Game Changer: Investing in Digital Play to Advance Children’s Learning and Health provides recommendations for the media industry, government, philanthropy and academia to harness the appeal of digital games to improve children’s health and learning. Supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Pioneer Portfolio, it was unveiled today at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C.”
Calling all teachers! Our contest mystery is over! Playnormous is announcing its first ever huge, super, amazing, fun contest. Actually, its our first contest, period; it just happens to be huge, super, amazing, and fun. Playnormous is giving away twenty iMac computers. Yes, you heard me correctly, twenty FREE iMacs. Not only that, but each computer is hand decorated by a real Playnormous artist. No two computers are alike so your iMac will be one-of-a-kind.
Sorry but we can’t give you all the details in one blog post, can we? Twenty lucky teachers will win a twenty-inch iMac computer for their classroom and will be featured on the Playnormous site. Our contest officially starts September, 2009, but stay tuned to Monster’s Blog this summer for additional details on how to win.
For whatever reason, people seem to be picking on cereal these days. Here’s yet another bizarre article dealing with people complaining about the obvious. Everybody’s favorite captain of breakfast, Cap’n Crunch, was the subject of a lawsuit by a California woman late last month because his Crunchberries cereal didn’t actually contain fruit. The plaintiff claimed that the word “berries” on the front of the box was misleading and fraudulent.
Fortunately for the captain, California Judge Morrison England ruled the case ridiculous citing “a reasonable consumer would not be deceived into believing that the Product in the instant case contained a fruit that does not exist.” Apparently the same lawfirm that took this case also was a participant in a suit against Froot Loops because they had no real fruit (also dropped).
I will be the first to say that there are many food companies out there willing to trick consumers into thinking something contains fruit when it really doesn’t. Fruit juice is a clear case. How often are you fooled by drinks that say “make with real fruit” or “all natural” or “100% Vit C”? This is the basis for our Juice Jumble game. But Cap’n Crunch Crunchberries? Glad the legal system works for things this silly.