Health & Spirit

Up In Smoke

Scott LaFee on

Medical History

This week in 1941, the first injection of penicillin into a human test subject was conducted. The patient was Albert Alexander, a 43-year-old Englishman who had scratched his face on a rose bush. The scratches turned septic, followed by blood poisoning and numerous abscesses. In great pain and desperately ill, Alexander happily agreed to the experimental antibiotic, which resulted in almost immediate improvement. But researchers had only a limited amount of penicillin and treatment was stopped. Alexander's infection returned and he died four weeks later.

Medical Myths

Occasionally, one will hear the admonition not to drink cold beverages immediately following a meal. The act purportedly can trigger disruption of the heart, i.e. cardiac arrest, or cause cancer. In the former case, the coldness is supposed to jolt the heart adversely. In the latter, chilled liquids reputedly cause ingested fats to solidify and become persistent carcinogenic globs. There is no reputable medical literature to support either notion.

Last Words

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"Such is life."

--Irish Australian bushranger Ned Kelly (1854-1880), who was variously regarded as a murderous robber or Robin Hood-like folk hero. Ultimately caught and convicted of murder, he was hanged.


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