Health & Spirit

Hurt Blocker

Scott LaFee on

If you plan on slicing a finger or scraping a knee anytime soon, try to make it during the day. Scientists report that the time of day when you're injured may impact healing rate, based upon the circadian rhythms of skin cells.

Looking at a database of persons recovering from burn wounds, they found that people injured during the day took 17 days to heal compared to 28 days on average for those injured at night.

Fat Chance

As if being obese wasn't enough of a health risk, new research suggests that fat cells can absorb at least one chemotherapy drug used to treat several forms of leukemia, reducing the efficacy of treatment. Fat cells also appear to change the drug's molecular structure so it's less toxic to leukemia cells.

The study was the first to show fat cells metabolize and inactivate a therapeutic drug.

Body of Knowledge

An infant's brain almost triples in size during the first year of life. In adulthood, though, the brain loses about one gram (about one-quarter of a teaspoon) of mass per year.

Life in Big Macs

One hour of massaging someone while standing burns 272 calories (based on a 150-pound person) or the equivalent of 0.4 Big Macs.


84: Number of marijuana-based products sold online for medicinal purposes that were tested for levels of cannabidiol, the active ingredient

42: Percentage containing higher cannabidiol concentration than labels indicated

26: Percentage with lower cannabidiol concentration than labels indicated

Source: JAMA

Never Say Diet

The Major League Eating record for corn, ground and boiled, is 21 pounds in 10 minutes, held by Patrick Bertoletti. By all accounts, it was a grits-y performance.

Doc Talk

Hemiasomatognosia: A term describing a person who's had a stroke or other brain injury and, as a result, forgets about half of their body. In severe cases, they lose all concept of one side of the universe, so that "left" or "right" no longer exists.

Phobia of the Week

Climacophobia: Fear of the act of climbing

Best Medicine

Phlebotomist: I'm here to draw some blood.


Patient: But I just received blood yesterday.

Phlebotomist: You didn't think you'd get to keep it, did you?


"One of the signs of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important."

--British philosopher Bertrand Russell (1872-1970), whose work did prove to be terribly important but who died at the age of 98 from influenza

Medical History

This week in 1952, a dense smog descended upon London, England that would last four days, causing at least 4,000 deaths and transportation chaos as visibility was reduced to a few hundred yards. Freshening winds and a rise in temperature eventually dissipated the fog. Most deaths occurred among the elderly, the very young or those with medical problems. The primary cause of the smog was pervasive coal burning.

Self Exam

Q: What percentage of the body's calcium is stored in the bones?

a) 15 percent

b) 55 percent

c) 68 percent

d) 97 percent

A: d

Medical Myths

Poinsettias have a greatly exaggerated reputation for being toxic. There has never been a confirmed death attributed to consuming poinsettia leaves (the gaudy red foliage is actually colored bracts or modified leaves; the real flowers are small and yellow) in humans and the plant is only mildly toxic to some pets. Eating the leaves may produce vomiting, drooling and diarrhea, but usually only in the most severe cases.

Final Words

"Is it not meningitis?"

--American novelist Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888). The writer of "Little Women" and its sequels, Alcott had suffered chronic ill health for many years. She did not have meningitis, but may have died from mercury poisoning, the consequence of an earlier treatment for typhoid fever.


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