Fact Check: ‘7 Brain damaging habits’ viral infographic falsely attributed to WHO
The infographic claiming WHO issued 7 brain-damaging habits is falsely attributed to the organisation. Some of the habits listed may have other adverse effects on health, but no direct impact on brain damage has been reported yet.
- By Vishvas News
- Updated: September 22, 2022
New Delhi (Vishvas News): An infographic from the World Health Organization (WHO) detailing the seven biggest brain damaging habits that lead to brain stroke is viral on social media.
Vishvas News, in its investigation, found the viral template to be falsely attributed to the United Nations agency responsible for international public health.
Facebook user Pijus Kanti Giri, shared an infographic on his profile on September 19, 2022.
The archive link of the post can be found here.
Vishvas News, on analysing the above claim, observed several abnormalities in the viral infographic. There were many grammatical mistakes, spacing issues, and syntax errors as the fonts were uneven and the WHO logo wasn’t used. Even the words ‘Don’t Just ReadForward to whom you care As I care for U’ had spacing issues and the usage of ‘U’ for ‘you’ depicted a casual approach often not taken up by international organisations.
On searching Facebook with the keywords ‘7 brain damaging habits WHO’, we discovered many similar claims here, here and here. All had the same content, but the templates were created differently. When we searched the claim on the internet, we found that the claim also went viral on social media in 2017 and 2020.
To verify further, we checked the Facebook and Twitter pages of WHO but found no similar announcements there.
We also got in touch with Shamila Sharma, Communications Officer at World Health Organization South-East Asia Region, who clarified that the circulating information is “fake”.
To understand the causes of brain stroke, Vishvas News contacted experts who discarded the claims made in the infographic and issued certain clarifications for the readers:
A. Dr Rajeev Jayadevan, co-chairman of the Indian Medical Association’s COVID-19 National Task Force, said, “None of the claims in the infographic can directly trigger a stroke. This is a fake message.” He also detailed the correct information on all claims:
- Skipping breakfast, while generally not recommended, has nothing to do with stroke. Although many people tolerate it, some develop digestive problems called functional dyspepsia. Staying hungry could also lead to a loss of productivity and concentration in the morning. This is because the brain consumes more energy than all other body parts, and it needs glucose. If glucose isn’t made available to the body after an overnight fast, it must be manufactured by “selling” or converting it from other tissues like protein. That’s why it is better to have breakfast before starting the day.
- Adequate sleep is required for multiple bodily functions to happen smoothly. This ranges from metabolism to baseline brain tissue cleanup activities. Sleep requirements vary, but chronic sleep loss can increase the risk of many medical problems.
- Sugar is the new fat. While sugar isn’t harmful in small amounts, taking excessive sugars directly or through pastries or beverages and juices leads to abdominal obesity, insulin resistance, fatty liver, hypertension, diabetes and heart disease.
- Eating a meal while distracted by television, social media, or conversation can lead to excessive intake of calories without our intent. We are the product of our habits. Over time, the effects add up. Besides, distracted eating can lead to complications like bones or food getting stuck in the throat. This may cause sudden death or difficulty swallowing, depending on the anatomical location.
- Wearing a cap or socks while sleeping is not dangerous. But a long scarf could rarely accidentally get entangled over the neck and cause choking.
B. Dr Mini Mehta, Palliative Care Physician at Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Hospital Delhi, said, “None of the above claims is true. Brain strokes happen majorly because of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, overweight, diabetes, alcohol, and blocked blood vessels in the brain.”
C. Dr Jacob Chacko, Senior consultant – Neurology at Sunrise Hospital Kochi, added, “Claims made are false. High-calorie intake, especially in genetically vulnerable people, can long-term lead to metabolic syndrome and complications like heart disease and stroke.”
While scanning the Facebook user’s profile, we mainly found no information that could be verified.
Conclusion: The infographic claiming WHO issued 7 brain-damaging habits is falsely attributed to the organisation. Some of the habits listed may have other adverse effects on health, but no direct impact on brain damage has been reported yet.
- Claim Review : 7 Brain damaging habits can lead to brain stroke
- Claimed By : Fb User: Pijus Kanti Giri
- Fact Check : False
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