Health & Spirit

Complete the Course?

Scott LaFee on

When doctors prescribe an antibiotic treatment, they invariably remind patients to complete the full course, i.e. don't stop taking your pills at day 7 of a 10-day treatment just because you're feeling better. The admonition is based on the idea that stopping treatment prematurely might mean not all of the targeted pathogen is gone, leaving it to rebound or worse, become antibiotic-resistant.

Now, some disease experts are suggesting in an editorial in the British Medical Journal that the long-held practice isn't actually based on solid empirical evidence and may, in fact, exacerbate the risk of antibiotic resistance. They want researchers to run specific clinical trials to determine the best ways to maximize antibiotic treatment.

Body of Knowledge

Only one in five humans carries the particular genetic combination that allows them to smell S-methyl-thioacrylate and S-methyl3-thiopropionate, the two aromatic chemical compounds in asparagus that produce that particular odor later excreted in urine.

Number Cruncher

A Double-Double hamburger with onions from In-N-Out (330 grams) contains 670 calories, 369 from fat. It has 41 grams of total fat or 63 percent of the recommended total fat intake for a 2,000-calorie daily diet.

It also contains 120 milligrams of cholesterol (40 percent); 1,440 mg of sodium (60 percent); 39 grams of total carbohydrates (13 percent); 3 g of dietary fiber, 10 grams of sugar and 37 g of protein.

Stories for the Waiting Room

The American Medical Association knows people love puppies. The AMA also knows that people don't know much about prediabetes, a condition marked by higher-than-ideal blood sugar levels that can lead to type 2 diabetes. It's estimated 90 percent of the 84 million Americans who are prediabetic aren't aware of their condition or the health risks.

So the AMA has started a new campaign to raise awareness with a 1-minute survey. Here's where the puppies come in. Or more precisely, come rolling, romping and bouncing in. The AMA is running 60-second TV spots talking about prediabetes over footage of puppies at play. The survey and the puppies, it says, are the "perfect way to spend a minute."

Doc Talk

Pulsatile: Beating, as in a pulsatile mass

Phobia of the Week

Anemophobia: Fear of air drafts or the wind

Never Say Diet

The Major League Eating record for cannoli is 34 in six minutes, held by Marcos Owens. Cannoli, of course, are fried tubular pastry dough stuffed with a sweet, cream filling -- a description that also presumably fit Mr. Owens after the contest.

Best Medicine

First guy: Hey man, what's wrong. You look a little green around the gills.

Second guy: I accidentally swallowed some food coloring yesterday. Had to go to the ER.

First guy: What'd the doc say?

Second guy: He said I'd be fine, but frankly, I feel like I've dyed a little inside.


If carrots are so good for the eyes, how come I see so many dead rabbits on the highway?


Medical History

This week in 2004, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger banned influenza vaccines containing the preservative thimerosal. Schwarzenegger was responding to advocacy groups more than medical opinion. Some groups claimed antibacterial ethylmercury in thimerasol was linked to autism and thus the flu vaccine posed a health risk, but numerous studies had thoroughly debunked the notion.

Self Exam

Q: Approximately how many Americans weigh more than 300 pounds?

A: 4 million, or a bit over 1 percent of the country's total population.

Med School

Q: What percentage of practicing physicians work overtime (more than 40 hours per week)?

a) 15 percent

b) 22 percent

c) 64 percent

d) 75 percent

A: c) 64 percent

Final Words

"I wish I'd drunk more champagne."

--British economist John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946)


To find out more about Scott LaFee and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

Copyright 2017 Creators Syndicate Inc.


blog comments powered by Disqus

Social Connections


Dog Eat Doug Shoe Chip Bok Loose Parts Cathy Gary Markstein