Health Advice



Make a Clean Getaway

Scott LaFee on


"If pregnancy were a book, they would cut the last two chapters." -- author Nora Ephron (1941-2012). She had one son.

Medical History

This week in 1864, Rebecca Lee Crumpler became the first Black woman to receive an American medical degree. It was awarded by the New England Female Medical College in Boston. As a medical pioneer who prevailed over the severest of societal restrictions, Crumpler spent her lifetime working to improve the health of the black community. In 1883, her desire to educate others on general medical principles resulted in the publication of "A Book of Medical Discourses: In Two Parts," based on her personal journals. The book focused on instructions for women on how to provide medical care for themselves and their children.

Medical Myths

Some mattress sales pitches are a mite gross: They argue that you should buy a new mattress at least every 10 years because your used one has doubled in weight, thanks to an accumulation of dead skin, dust mite colonies, oil and moisture.

But is it true? Well, not exactly -- or at least there are no precise numbers. Mattresses do absorb dead skin, oils and moisture over time. And dust mites do enjoy living inside mattresses, where they feed upon all of that dead skin. No one has ever conducted a study of accumulating mattress weight, but Ohio State University researchers have estimated that a typical used mattress may have 100,000 to 10 million resident mites and their accumulated droppings. On the plus side, the mites are microscopic and hardly weigh anything, individually speaking.


Also, dust mites are generally harmless to people, though they or their feces can cause allergic reactions in some, particularly persons with asthma.

Last words

"Yes, but not too many." -- Dutch poet Gerrit Achterberg (1905-1962). Achterberg had just parked his car when his wife asked if she should make some fried potatoes. He replied and then suffered a fatal heart attack.


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