Health & Spirit

Smoking Signs

Scott LaFee on

While smoking rates nationally have steadily declined, tobacco use remains notably problematic in some racial and ethnic groups, according to new data from the CDC. For example, more than 43 percent of American Indians and Alaskan Natives had used some type of tobacco in the past month, according to a survey. That compares to 27 percent of people who aren't part of those groups.

The disparity is greater among American Indians and Alaskan Natives living below the poverty level: More than half use tobacco products. Two reasons: Tobacco products are often cheaper on tribal lands and the tobacco industry has specifically targeted these demographic groups with marketing, say experts.

Snake Oil in Pill Form

In Kansas, a man came down with a salmonella infection after taking rattlesnake pills (which contain dehydrated, ground-up rattlesnake meat) he had purchased in Mexico. The pills are often marketed as a treatment for cancer and HIV infections, neither of which has been proven.

Body of Knowledge

A normal breath takes five seconds: two to inhale, three to exhale.

Get Me That, Stat!

Forty percent of young people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or "questioning" report they have seriously considered suicide in the past year, according to a survey of more than 15,000 high school students. The survey also found that 25 percent of young people who identified as LGBQ attempted suicide, compared to 6 percent of their heterosexual peers.

Life in Big Macs

One hour of sitting and writing burns 68 calories (based on a 150-pound person) or the equivalent of 0.1 Big Macs. (More if you use active verbs.)

Doc Talk

Anhidrosis: The abnormal absence of sweat; hyperhidrosis is excessive perspiration

Phobia of the Week

Kainolophobia: Fear of novelty

Never Say Diet

The Major League Eating record for pulled pork sandwiches is 45 in 10 minutes, held by Joey Chestnut, who also holds the current records for most pork rib meat (13.67 pounds in 12 minutes), pulled pork sliders (62 in 10 minutes) and pork roll sandwiches (43 in 10 minutes). A professional speed eater, Chestnut clearly knows how to make a pig of himself.

Best Medicine

--Sponsored Video--

Wife: Well, what did the doctor say?

Husband: He said I've got attention deficit something or other.


My doctor told me to do something that made me slightly out of breath, so I started smoking again."

--Comedian Jo Brand

Medical History

This week in 1998, American researchers announced they had cloned calves perhaps capable of producing medicinal milk. Creating two identical, genetically engineered calves containing human DNA was declared a step toward mass production of human drugs in animals. Their goal was to turn cows into drug factories, mass producing milk that contains human proteins important for treating human diseases.

Medical Myths

Every year around this time, there are reports that scientists have determined that a particular date in January is statistically the most depressing day of the year. Typically it's a Monday.

In fact, no such evidence exists.

According to, the concept of "blue Monday" took root in 2005 with a press release detailing "a purported formula that calculated factors including weather, debt, time elapsed since Christmas and unsuccessful New Year's resolutions." When those factors were combined, a "sadness algorithm" identified January 24, 2005 as the single most depressing of the year.

The news release turned out to be the work of a travel company trying to encourage folks to take vacations to sunnier, warmer climes in January.

Curtain Calls

Having been wrapped in linen bandages soaked in brandy as a purported remedy for his frail and ailing body, the French nobleman Charles II of Navarre (1332-1387) was killed when a servant accidentally set him on fire while trying to burn off a lose thread.


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