Health & Spirit

Up In Smoke

Scott LaFee on

As marijuana use increases, there's increasing interest and debate over its broader health effects. One area of contention is the impact of cannabis upon cardiovascular health. In a paper published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers looked at 24 observational studies that examined adults using any form of marijuana and potentially related effects on cardiovascular function and health.

Although six of the studies suggested a metabolic benefit from cannabis, the scientists concluded that all of the data was insufficient and inconclusive due to the studies' designs, limitations, scope and variation.

Blue Sighs

Poor air quality is the biggest environmental threat to public health but if you're thinking about of going to where breathing is best, you'll need a passport. A new analysis reports Switzerland has done the best job to clean up air pollution, followed by France, Denmark, Malta and Sweden.

The United States comes in 27, penalized for pollution risk factors like deforestation and greenhouse gas emission. The U.S. trailed countries like the U.K., Japan and Canada.

India and Bangladesh were at the bottom of the rankings, along with Burundi, Nepal and Democratic Republic of Congo.

Body of Knowledge

The average red blood cell lives for about four months. You contain roughly 2.5 trillion of them at any given moment, with about 2.5 million new red blood cells produced per second to replace those that have died.

Life in Big Macs

One hour of typing burns 102 calories (based on a 150-pound person) or the equivalent of 0.1 Big Macs. Typing this earned me one sesame seed.


27: Percent that prescription drug prices rose between 2012 and 2016 despite fewer people using brand-name prescriptions and generic drug prices remaining the same or dropping slightly

32: Percentage increase in average cost of an emergency room visit between 2012-2016

30: Percentage increase in average price for a surgical admission to a hospital

Source: Health Care Cost Institute

Doc Talk

Cardiac tamponade: compression of the heart from fluid buildup, such as blood

Phobia of the Week

Merinthophobia: fear of being tied up

Never Say Diet

Sponsored Video Stories from LifeZette

The Major League Eating for flautas is 65 in 10 minutes, held by Ben Monson, who humbly did not flout his ability to eat large numbers of tortillas stuffed with beef and cheese.

Best Medicine

Man: "I burned my finger yesterday."

Other man: "What'd you do?"

Man: "I followed that old advice about rubbing some margarine on it."

Other man: "Did it help"

Man: "No, I can't believe it's not better."


"I went on a diet, swore off drinking and heavy eating, and in 14 days I lost two weeks."

-- American comedian and singer Joe E. Lewis (1902-1971)

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

"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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Copyright 2018 Creators Syndicate Inc.


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