01/19/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Holiday Myths Debunked

Contrary to popular belief, poinsettias are not toxic to people or animals, suicides do not increase over the Christmas holidays, and sugar does not make kids hyperactive. Also, Wales winning the rugby grand slam does not influence the death of popes, and douching with Coca-Cola is not an effective contraceptive method.

Those are some of the conclusions of reports in the British Medical Journal's annual Christmas issue, a compilation of the weird and lighthearted papers its editors accumulate over the year. In a related vein, a report in the journal Lancet details the curious case of a woman who fainted every time she ate a sandwich.

The supposed toxicity of poinsettias has been a subject of warnings ever since the red and white flowers have been associated with the Christmas holiday, but numerous reports from poison control centers do not support the warnings, according to Drs. Rachel C. Vreeman and Aaron E. Carroll of the Indiana University School of Medicine.

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