What might travel faster than light? Maybe it is a good rumour. It is a matter of little time that an interesting or fascinating rumour takes to spread among people through verbal communication in our surroundings. However, it is very important to discriminate the rumour from the truth and eliminate the myth from the peoples’ mind as it often causes dangerous beliefs and prejudices. Similarly, in the field of medical, myths can wreak havoc and create a severe situation of panic which is sometimes as dangerous as any outbreak of disease. Years of effort in research to find a basis and the source of a disease can be misguided or misled by a spread of a myth.
While studying the history of clinical myths, the ground-breaking researchers of Northeastern University study the incident of the London cholera outbreak in the 1850s and speak to Emily Artsen and Aria Bracci of Litmus podcast about the myth regarding the findings of the source of cholera by John Snow as he is also referred to as the ‘father of epidemiology’. The story of John Snow said that when the cholera outbreak occurred in the 1850s, he discovered it was spreading through contaminated water and created a map that indicated the zoning of the affected area and the polluted water-body. However, the myth misses some important details for John Snow spent several years in building a hypothesis and finally in 1854 he went door-to-door to collect data as he took into account every individual’s details and applied it to assure his suppositions and determined the root cause of the cholera outbreak.
Sari Altschuler, professor of Northeastern University detected the influence of literature in medical sciences. Alessandro Vespignani, professor of Northeastern is working to prepare people for diseases before they spread as a weatherman before a storm. He tries to take account of personal details while studying for an outbreak and break the age-old egalitarian idea of an epidemic, usually referred to as “sandbox”. His studies will bear fruitful results in combating any dangerous outbreaks.