Health Advice



Acetaminophen During Pregnancy

Scott LaFee on

This week in 1944, the first "blue baby" operation was performed successfully at Johns Hopkins University by Dr. Alfred Blalock and pediatric cardiologist Helen B. Taussig. Blalock devised the first subclavian-pulmonary artery anastomosis operation on the cyanotic ("blue-baby") infant, who had a hole in the wall between the heart's two major chambers. The Blalock-Taussig shunt procedure joined an artery leaving the heart to an artery leading to the lungs, creating a second opportunity to oxygenate the blood. Thousands of cyanotic children were helped by this operation until later surgeries began repairing the defect itself.

Ig Nobel Apprised

The Ig Nobel Prizes celebrate achievements that make people laugh, then think. A look at real science that's hard to take seriously and even harder to ignore.

In 2001, the Ig Nobel Prize in psychology went to Lawrence Sherman of Miami University in Ohio for his study entitled "An Ecological Study of Glee in Small Groups of Preschool Children."

Med School

Q: How long does rigor mortis last?

A: It depends. Rigor mortis occurs after death when the muscles of the body stiffen due to a range of chemical changes. Fully developed rigor mortis is easily identifiable and a reliable indicator that death has occurred. The time of onset is variable but usually appears between one and six hours (average two to four) after death. It is temporary, depending on factors like temperature and environment, and can last as little as a few hours to several days.


The muscles of the face and neck are often the first to be affected, with rigidity spreading out over the trunk and limbs. Relaxation of the muscles occurs in roughly the same order.

Curtain Calls

In 2007, 24-year-old Humberto Hernandez was killed when a fire hydrant landed on him as he walked along an Oakland, California, sidewalk. Moments earlier, a tire blew on a passing car, causing the vehicle to suddenly swerve and strike the hydrant. Water pressure sent the 200-pound hydrant flying. It struck Hernandez, who was just 10 feet away and too close to react, in the head. His wife, walking just behind him, was unhurt.


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