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Health & Spirit

Olden, Not Golden

Scott LaFee on

Old age is not for sissies, the joke goes, though findings in a new Kaiser Family Foundation report on health in later life are nothing to laugh about.

The report polled 2,040 adults, including 998 interviews with people who had experienced recent serious illness in older age, either personally or with a family member. It found that 56 percent of seniors with serious illness felt sad or depressed often, with almost as many saying they felt lonely or a burden on others.

Nearly half of respondents said they had struggled to understand their medication instructions or medical care in the past year. The rate was higher among those with dementia.

Caregivers suffered, too. Half of family members who assisted a relative with a serious illness said they spend at least several hours a day providing care. One in five caregivers said there wasn't anyone to give them a break.

Body of Knowledge

The middle part of the back is the least sensitive surface of the body.

Get Me That, Stat!

The Centers for Disease Control says the average weight of an American adult male has jumped from 180 pounds (based on data from 1988-1994) to 195 pounds (2011-2014). According to the website weightandthings.com, that works out to 884 blueberry muffins, 32,753 ping pong balls or 1,768,707 drops of water.

Number Cruncher

One Rubio's fish taco (149 grams) contains 270 calories, 117 from fat. It has 13 grams of total fat or 20 percent of the recommended total fat intake for a 2,000-calorie daily diet.

It also contains 35 milligrams of cholesterol (12 percent); 430 mg of sodium (18 percent); 30 grams of total carbohydrates (10 percent); 4 grams of fiber (16 percent); 4 grams of sugar and 11 grams of protein.

Never Say Diet

The Major League Eating record for turducken is 7.75 pounds in 12 minutes, held by Sonya Thomas. Turducken consists of a deboned chicken stuffed inside a deboned duck stuffed inside a deboned turkey stuffed, in this case, inside Thomas. It's an example of engastration, a recipe method in which one animal is inserted into the gastric passage of another, which sounds really tasty.

Stories for the Waiting Room

Not that you should worry, but STAT News recently reported that in 2014, the National Institutes of Health found a decades-old vial of smallpox in an FDA lab storage room. In 2015, it was announced that a federal lab accidentally shipped live anthrax to nearly 200 labs over 12 years. And in 2016, security officials discovered that a private lab accidentally sent out a toxic form of ricin multiple times since 2011.

This year, says STAT, federal officials say they're going to review the program that's supposed to make sure these things don't happen.

Doc Talk

Apneustic breathing: A pattern of breathing that may occur after damage to the lower pons, a region of the brain. Patients breathe in deeply, pause, breathe out, pause again (often for many seconds) then repeat process.

Phobia of the Week

Ombrophobia: Fear of rain

--Sponsored Video--

Best Medicine

Two psychiatrists are riding bikes along a woodland path. One loses balance in some loose gravel and falls, hurting himself badly. The other psychiatrist races back, hops off his bike, his face a mask of concern and asks: "Do you want to talk about it?"

Observation

"Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday. Lying in hospitals, dying of nothing." --Comedian Redd Foxx (1922-1991)

Medical History

This week in 1989, a team of doctors at University of Chicago Hospitals implanted part of a woman's liver into her 21-month-old daughter -- the world's first successful living donor liver transplant. The human liver is the only internal organ capable of regeneration. As little as one-quarter of an original liver mass can regrow back to full size.

Med School

Q: What is the most common surgical procedure in the United States?

a) Cataract removal

b) Caesarean section

c) Joint replacement

d) Circumcision

A: Any of these answers would be reasonable. Each year, roughly 3 million Americans undergo surgery to remove cataracts. Almost 1.3 million pregnant women have their babies by C-section annually. More than a million Americans have joint replacement surgery, the vast majority involving knees. And doctors perform almost as many circumcisions on newborn boys in the U.S. every year.

Epitaphs

On a tombstone in a Ribbesford, England cemetery:

"The children of Israel wanted bread And the Lord sent them manna, Old clerk Wallace wanted a wife, And the Devil sent him Anna."

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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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