Health Advice



The Season Flu By

Scott LaFee on

Patient: "I stand corrected."

Hypochondriac's Guide

Geographic tongue syndrome is a harmless but inflammatory condition in which lesions develop on the tongue, forming red and white patches that can resemble geographic masses on a map. The lesions can change shape and location, a little like an oral version of plate tectonics. The cause of GT is unknown, though stress, allergies, hormonal disturbances and nutritional deficiencies may be associated. If it persists, patients are advised to consult their doctor or dentist for more serious underlying conditions.


"Mental health problems don't define who you are. They are something you experience. You walk in the rain and you feel the rain, but, importantly, YOU ARE NOT THE RAIN." -- English novelist Matt Haig

Medical History


This week in 1972, Lewis Toppel of Chicago received a patent for his smoking deterrent: a pseudo-cigarette package that produced simulated coughing sounds when it was picked up or opened. According to the patent abstract, "The simulated coughing noises are produced from a battery-driven disk recording played through a miniature loudspeaker in the package. A unique actuating lever arrangement enables the almost instantaneous replaying of the record each time the package is moved."

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: "Simple exercises to flatten your potential."

It sounds like a headline from the cover of a health or fitness magazine, but it's from the journal Physics Review D and discusses inflationary potential in cosmology, i.e., the expanding universe, which is growing as steadily as our waistlines.


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