Health Advice



A Little Dose of Cash

Scott LaFee on


"Have you ever had the measles, and if so, how many?" -- American humorist Artemus Ward (1834-1867). Ward was his nom de plume; his real name was Charles Farrar Browne. He is considered by some to be America's first stand-up comic.

Medical History

This week in 1827, the Boston School Committee voted to require, effective the following year, that public school students show that they had been vaccinated against smallpox prior to school entrance. Certificates to the board of health were to be issued where necessary for free vaccination. This initiative came three decades after Edward Jenner's discovery of a method to immunize against smallpox. Massachusetts passed a statewide law in 1855, followed by New York (1862) and Connecticut (1872).

Perishable Publications

Many, if not most, published research papers have titles that defy comprehension. They use specialized jargon, complex words and opaque phrases like "nonlinear dynamics." Sometimes they don't, and yet they're still hard to figure out. Here's an actual title of actual published research study: "Nifty ways to leave your lover: The tactics people use to entice and disguise the process of human mate poaching."

The 2003 study by researchers at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, wasn't quite as lyrical as Paul Simon's 1975 pop hit, but it did clearly specify some of the top ways men and women disguise their philandering from current partners. For men, it was talking about the future together, paying closer attention and getting their current partner pregnant (which seems pretty shortsighted). For women, it was maintaining daily routine, not changing how they look and wearing a "relationship ring" all of the time.

Medical Myths


Some research has suggested that consuming coconut oil can help fat melt away because it contains triglycerides which have a "fat-burning" effect. But the research is scant and far from convincing, and coconut oil doesn't contain enough triglycerides to make a difference, when consumed in reasonable amounts.

But it does have a lot of calories: 120 per tablespoon.

Also, fat doesn't actually melt away. Fat cells simply get bigger or smaller.

Last Words

"Remember, honey, don't forget what I told you. Put in my coffin a deck of cards, a mashie niblick, and a pretty blonde." -- Leonard "Chico" Marx (1887-1961), one of the Marx Brothers, to his wife. A mashie niblick is a type of golf club. His brother, Julius "Groucho" Marx (1890-1977), reputedly said when he was dying, "This is no way to live."


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