Medical myths confirmed and debunked



PITTSBURGH -- If a pregnant woman has heartburn, does it mean the baby will have a lot of hair? Can a full moon cause a woman to go into labor?

 Channel 11 News viewers sent in their questions and anchor Jennifer Abney took them to an Allegheny General Hospital doctor to find out what is true and what is just a myth.

 When it comes to a pregnant woman and heartburn, Dr. Michael Farrell said it could be true for in some cases. For his wife, morning sickness is what indicted his child's head of hair.

"My wife had terrible morning sickness, so I did some research on this. There was a statistical correlation with the hormone levels that take care of the placenta, and you therefore have more hair on the part of the child," Farrell said.

Channel 11 Facebook fan Kailey Bowser asked if a full moon can cause women to go into labor. Farrell said there is research indicating that more children are born during a full moon.

Viewer Kristen Temple said she hopes this one isn't true: Will gum stay in your stomach for seven years if swallowed?

"The pH of the acid in your stomach could remove the old-style paint from automobiles. I don’t think the gum has a chance," said Farrell.

Another viewer asked if warm milk can help someone go to sleep.

"The milk contains amino acids that make you feel mildly sleepy. It's similar to what turkey does at Thanksgiving. When you warm [the milk] you probably make yourself absorb them a little sooner," Farrell said.

Finally, what about going outside with wet hair? Can that make you sick?

"I have to tell you, even doctors have their own superstitions, and while I have not seen medical evidence to that effect, I have had a lot of experience with children that [suggests it] does seem to cause problems," Farrell said.