Health & Spirit

Donation Nation

Scott LaFee on

Dutch lawmakers have approved a new measure that signs up every citizen as a potential organ donor unless they choose to opt out. It's an effort to ease the global, chronic shortage of donor organs and reduce transplant waitlists. Under the new law, every Dutch citizen over the age of 18 who hasn't registered as an organ donor will receive a letter asking if they'd like to become one. If they don't respond, they will automatically be considered to be organ donors.

Other nations are considering similar measures, though critics assert the approach places too much government control over an individual's body. In the U.S., similar efforts were introduced in Connecticut and Texas last year, but neither became law.

Body of Knowledge

The surface area of the average, healthy human lung -- that is the tissue lining that exchanges inhaled oxygen and exhaled carbon dioxide -- is comparable to a tennis court.

Get Me That, Stat!

Basic science research is fundamental to modern medicine. Case in point: Between 2010 and 2016, at least 210 new drugs were approved for use in people. More than $100 billion in funding from the National Institutes of Health went, directly or indirectly, to development of those drugs, according to a study by researchers at Bentley University. More than 90 percent of the scientific publications during this time were related to identifying and describing biological targets of drugs.

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Life in Big Macs

One hour of running up stairs burns 1,020 calories (based on a 150-pound person) or the equivalent of 1.4 Big Macs. Or 34 carrots, if you're so inclined.

Stories for the Waiting Room

The abbreviation for "prescription" is Rx, whose origin is often attributed to the Latin word "recipere," meaning "to take." Physicians have other, similar bits of shorthand: Sx for signs or symptoms, Dx for diagnosis, Tx for treatment and Hx for history.


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