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Health & Spirit

New Mole, New Problem

Scott LaFee on

If you're on the lookout for suspicious signs of skin cancer, in particular melanoma, new moles may be more problematic than old ones. A team of dermatologists looked at more than 20,000 melanoma cases from dozens of past studies. They found that 71 percent of melanoma diagnoses were related to new moles. The remainder were from existing moles, which tended to be smaller and produced better prognoses.

"We call it the ugly duckling sign," Dr. Darrell Rigel, former president of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, told STAT. "If you see a spot that's brand new and growing -- and looks different than its neighbors -- have your dermatologist look at it."

Body of Knowledge

The average yawn lasts six seconds.

Get Me That, Stat!

Between 2002 and 2012, the number of American women who had cancer in one breast but chose to get a double mastectomy tripled, according to new research published in the Annals of Surgery.

Number Cruncher

A single Pina Colada drink (6.8 fluid ounces) contains 526 calories, 152 from fat. It has 16.9 grams of total fat or 26 percent of the recommended total fat intake for a 2,000-calorie daily diet.

It contains zero cholesterol; 158 milligrams of sodium (7 percent); 61.3 grams of total carbohydrates (20 percent); 0.2 grams of dietary fiber and 1.3 grams of protein.

Counts

13: Amount, in dollars, it costs to buy a pack of cigarettes in New York City, now the most expensive place to smoke in the United States

Source: New York City Department of Health

Doc Talk

Arterial stick: insertion of an intravenous line into an artery

Phobia of the Week

Dromophobia: fear of crossing streets

Never Say Diet

The Major League Eating record for crawfish is 6.5 pounds in 10 minutes, held by Sonya Thomas.

Best Medicine

A doctor was giving a lecture to a group of medical students at a teaching hospital.

Pointing to an x-ray, he opined: "As you can see, this patient limps because his right fibula and tibia are radically arched."

The doctor then turned to the class and asked a young man in the front row: "What would you do in a case like this?"

The young man replied, "I suppose I would limp too."

Observation

"I believe humans get a lot done, not because we're smart, but because we have thumbs so we can make coffee."

--American writer and humorist Flash Rosenberg

Medical History

This week in 1997, American biology professor Stanley B. Prusiner won the Nobel Prize for medicine for discovering "prions," described as "an entirely new genre of disease-causing agents." The name refers to "proteinaceous infectious particles," linked to neurological diseases in both humans and animals, such as Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy or "mad cow disease" and its human variant: Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

Medical Myths

Drinking warm milk before bed may make you sleepy, but there's no evidence that it's the milk itself. The drowsiness some people experience is more likely due to the warmth of the milk or a full stomach. Milk does contain trace amounts of tryptophan, but not enough to produce a physiological effect.

Med School

Q: What do you call the ridge of tissue caused when you bite the inside of your cheek over and over again?

A: Morsicatio buccarum. Repeated biting of the lips is called morsicatio labiorum and chronic chewing of the tongue is called morsicatio linguarum. Morsus is Latin for bite. Buccal refers to the mouth.

Final Words

"I feel here that this time they have succeeded."

--Russian revolutionary and multiple assassination target Leon Trotsky (1879-1940), killed while in exile in Mexico City

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

Copyright 2017 Creators Syndicate Inc.
 

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