“Scientific” rumor list of February 2021: would staying up late cause liver cancer? Does contactless charging is radioactively dangerous?

2021-03-03

The February list of “scientific” rumors is coming! Would staying up late cause liver cancer? Does contactless charging is radioactively dangerous? Would sleeping on left side pressure heart? Come see truth explained.

The monthly “scientific’ rumors list, guided by Beijing Association for Science and Technology, Beijing Municipal Cyberspace Administration Office and Beijing Internet Association and jointly released by Beijing Association of Science and Technology Journalists and Editors and www.piyao.qianlong.com, is supported by the Science Communication Committee of China Science Writers Association, the Society of Science Editors and Journalists of China Evening News, Shanghai Science and Technology Communication Association and Beijing Science and Technology Information Institute.

1. Staying up late will cause liver cancer

Rumors

Burning the midnight oil for years will cause liver cancer. Human organs would expel toxicants during nighttime, which would be impossible if one chooses to stay up late.

Truth

The notion that “staying up late will cause liver cancer” is groundless. Currently, the full etiology of liver cancer still remains unclear, but some factors in daily life indeed would increase the risk of getting liver cancer.

The risk factors of liver cancer include hepatitis virus infection, excessive drinking, liver cirrhosis, aflatoxins, genetic mutation, inherited metabolic diseases, smoking obesity, type II diabetes, vinyl chloride and thorium dioxide, etc. But it should be noted that having one or more risk factors does not mean one would inevitably get liver cancer. Hepatitis B vaccination, regular health checkup, treatment of underlying diseases, cessation of smoking and drinking, keeping healthy weight and staying away from carcinogenic toxicants are all known ways to reduce the risk of liver cancer.

Staying up late, although not a known direct cause of liver cancer, would reduce resistance of human body, making it one of the numerous inducements of underlying diseases. Therefore, forming good lifestyles is very important and one should endeavor to avoid high-risk habits such as staying up late, smoking and excessive drinking. 

2. Contactless charging poses radioactive danger

Rumors

The radiation generated by “contactless charging” technology is extremely strong and will harm physical health.

Truth

The wireless charging technology can be divided into three categories by technical principles, i.e., electromagnetic induction, electromagnetic resonance and radio wave. Regardless of contactless charging (wireless charging) of any method, its technical foundation couldn’t go without electromagnetic wave, which, however, would generate radiation, the higher the frequency and the greater the energy, the stronger the corresponding radiation. Nonetheless, discussing the effects of radiation on human body must consider the amount of radiation, as its effects on human body are negligible if the charging power of electronics is low.

The radiation standard also has something to do with space area. According to the upper limit of safety set by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection, the safety radiation range tolerated by human body is 10 watt/square meter. If calculated based on the family residence area of 90 square meters, the maximum radiation power that can be tolerated in residential house is about 900 watt. The charging piles for contactless charging are presumed to have a maximum transmitting power of merely 25 watt, so they can guarantee safety of human body.

Radio wave contactless charging technology functions to transfer energy to cell phone in the form of extremely narrow beam of “millimeter wave”, and there are currently no experimental data showing that millimeter wave would bring radiation, that is to say, radiation of millimeter wave will not cause negative impact on human health. 

3. Sleeping on the left side will pressure heart.

Rumors

As heart is not located in the right middle of human body, sleeping on the left side will pressure the heart and thus harm health.

Truth

This notion is wrong. Human heart is perfectly protected by the thoracic cage formed by ribs and would not be easily pressured in any direction. Even if occasionally struck by the outside, it would generally not cause any substantial damage to heart as long as the intensity is not too high. Moreover, when we lie on the left side, above the heart is the right lung, which is large but not heavy enough to be feared.

However, for most of patients with heart disease, lying on the right side is indeed better than lying on the left side. When lying on the left side, as the heart is located below the body centerline (center of gravity), there is more blood flowing back to heart due to the action of gravity, causing a greater burden on heart than lying on the right side. So, it is suggested that patients with heart disease adopt lying on the right side in order to reduce heart burden. 

(Sources: official WeChat account of “piyao.jfdaily.com”, Beijing Sci-tech Report, official WeChat account of “jksb.com.cn”, official WeChat account of www.dxy.com, pictures sourced from the internet).

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