Health & Spirit

Bad Bug

Scott LaFee on

This promises to be a very nasty flu season, both in terms of prevalence and severity. A primary reason is that the H3N2 influenza strain is more dominant this year than in other years, and the strain tends to make people more miserable and causes more death than other strains.

Helen Branswell at STAT cites three factors:

--H3N2 causes more outbreaks in long-term care homes, taking a bigger toll on the elderly whose cases of the flu can quickly become life-threatening pneumonia.

--Flu vaccines vary in efficacy. Current vaccines against strains like H1N1 are more effective than those against H3N2.

--H3N2 is a particularly cagey foe. It mutates and evolves at a faster rate than H1N1 or influenza B viruses, making it more difficult to subdue.

In a Family Weigh

A growing number of women are overweight before pregnancy, according to new CDC statistics, which can impact both the health of the baby and the mother. In 2015, the CDC says 45 percent of women were at a healthy pre-pregnancy weight; 4 percent were underweight; 25 percent were overweight; and 25 percent were obese.

Being overweight or obese is linked to a greater risk of requiring a C-section and of obesity in the child. Conversely, being underweight before pregnancy increases the risk of low birth weight.

Body of Knowledge

When you laugh, you expel short bursts of air up to 70 mph.

Get Me That, Stat!

Disparity problems are worsening in organ transplants. A new analysis of kidney transplants found that while 11 percent of white patients in 2014 received a living donor transplant within two years after joining a waiting list, just 3 percent of black patients, 6 percent of Hispanic patients and 6 percent of Asian patients had received a transplant in the same time frame.

Number Cruncher

A serving of Arby's mozzarella sticks with marinara sauce (137 grams) contains 365 calories, 164 from fat. It has 18.3 grams of total fat or 28 percent of the recommended total fat intake for a 2,000-calorie daily diet.

It also contains 42 milligrams of cholesterol (14 percent); 1,511 mg of sodium (63 percent); 31.6 grams of total carbohydrates (11 percent); 5 grams of sugar; 2.5 gs of dietary fiber and 18.3 g of protein.

Doc Talk

Homonymous hemianopsia: when a person loses the same field of vision in both eyes

Phobia of the Week

Koumpounophobia: fear of buttons

Never Say Diet

--Sponsored Video--

The Major League Eating record for rice balls is 20 pounds in 30 minutes, held by Takeru Kobayashi; no doubt temporarily depriving several local Japanese sushi bars and a few weddings of raw material.

Best Medicine

A patient complained to his doctor: "Doc, you have to help me. I'm addicted to Twitter."

The doctor replied, "I'm sorry. I don't follow you."


"If you can solve your problem, then what is the need of worrying? If you cannot solve it, then what is the use of worrying?"

--Author Tulku Thondup

Medical History

This week in 1964, the first animal-to-human heart transplant was performed by Dr. James Hardy at the University of Mississippi, who transplanted the heart of a chimpanzee named Bino into the chest of 68-year-old Boyd Rush. It was a last-ditch effort to save Rush's life because no human was heart available. The newly transplanted heart beat on its own, but it was too small to maintain independent circulation and Rush died after 90 minutes. The first successful human heart transplant occurred three years later.

Med School

Q: What causes face dimples?

A: A face dimple is essentially a genetically transmitted abnormality of a muscle in the cheek. The bifid or double zygomaticus major muscle is tethered to the cheek, causing a deeper and more visible indentation when a person flexes it by smiling. Chin dimples are the result of the chin not fusing correctly during embryologic development, leaving a cleft.

Most babies have temporary cheek dimples due to an overabundance of fat in their cheeks. The dimples disappear as the baby fat melts away.

Last Words

"Am I dying or is this my birthday?"

--Lady Nancy Astor (1879-1964), upon briefly awakening to find her family surrounding her bed


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