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Rich in Hype

Scott LaFee on

Medical History

This week in 1890, President Benjamin Harrison signed the first U.S. law requiring inspection of meat products, specifically export shipments of salted pork and bacon and imported cattle, foods and drinks. The act was prompted by European nations banning American meat exports due to fear the products were infected with trichinosis. Those nations removed the restrictions the next year.

Self Exam

Q: Which human organ(s) can regenerate?

a) Liver

b) Stomach and liver

c) Fingernails

d) Pancreas

A: a) The liver is the only human organ capable of truly regenerating itself, though many other organs and tissues have notable self-repair abilities. In live liver donations, 40 to 60 percent of a donor's liver may be transplanted into a recipient, with both livers eventually re-growing to normal size.

Medical Myths

The myth that people use only 10 percent of their brains has a long history. It's been bandied about for at least a century. Modern imaging studies, however, show that no area of the brain is completely silent or inactive. Next on the list of things to study: Whether some people use even 10 percent of their brains.

Epitaphs

"S = k log W"

Engraved on the Vienna tombstone of Ludwig Boltzman (1844-1906).

Boltzmann was an Austrian physicist who made fundamental contributions to statistical thermodynamics and mechanics. He was an early proponent of the controversial atomic theory. The formula represents Boltzmann's explanation for entropy of a system (how energy dissipates and changes). When his peers rejected the formula, Boltzmann committed suicide.

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