Health Advice



At the Heart of the Problem: Money

Scott LaFee on

Among older people who have been hospitalized for a heart attack, severe financial strain -- having too little money each month to make ends meet -- is associated with a 60% higher risk of dying within six months after hospital discharge, according to a Yale University study.

"We found that severe financial strain was associated with increased risk of mortality. It's a call to the clinical world that we need to pay attention to patients' financial status," said study author Alexandra Hajduk.

Of the patients in the study who reported having more than enough money to pay the bills, 7.2% died within six months of leaving the hospital. Of those who reported having "just enough" money to make ends meet, 9% died within six months. Of those who reported having too little money, 16.8% died within six months.

Get Me That, Stat!

A little over 1% of women in the United States between the ages of 18 and 49 have adopted a child; 4.7% have taken steps to adopt, according to the National Survey of Family Growth. The number of men is roughly comparable.


9: Percentage of Americans who say they have no friends or family to turn to in times of need

Source: OECD Better Life Initiative

Doc Talk

Fasciculation: muscle twitch

Phobia of the Week

Erythrophobia: fear of blushing

Best Medicine

People with claustrophobia think better outside the box.

Food for thought

Brominated vegetable oil is a food additive sometimes used to keep citrus flavoring from separating out in sodas and other beverages. It's banned in some countries, but not the U.S. Health concerns about BVO revolve around one its ingredients, bromine, which can irritate the skin and mucous membranes of the nose, mouth, lungs and stomach. Long-term exposure may cause neurological symptoms like headaches and memory loss. Bromine is also used in insecticides, dyes, agricultural chemicals and flame retardants.


"We use 10% of our brains. Imagine how much we could accomplish if we used the other 60%." -- Comedian Ellen DeGeneres

Medical History

This week in 1966, chemist James M. Schlatter applied for a patent for "peptide sweetening Agents," which would eventually result in the marketing of aspartame under the brand name NutraSweet. Schlatter made his discovery accidentally. To pick up a piece of paper, he had licked his finger, tasting an unexpectedly sweet trace of a substance that had, he realized, earlier splashed onto the outside of a flask he had handled. The taste derived from L-aspartyl-L-phenylalanine methyl ester, a dipeptide of amino acids that is 200 times sweeter than sucrose or table sugar.

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 2021, the Ig Nobel Prize in entomology (and maybe for addressing a previously unreported health problem) went to U.S. Navy scientists for their published study "A New Method of Cockroach Control on Submarines."


Sum Body

Many parts of the human body are named after their discoverers or other humans, real and mythical, from the Adam's apple to zonule of Zinn, a ring of fibrous strands found in the eye. Here are the 15 named after folks whose names begin with L:

1: Langer's lines -- Karl Langer

2: Islets of Langerhans and Langerhans cell -- Paul Langerhans

3: Langhans giant cell -- Theodor Langhans

4: Lauth's canal -- Thomas Lauth

5: Leydig Cells -- Franz Leydig

6: Crypts of Lieberkuhn -- Johann Nathanael Lieberkuhn

7: Lissauer's tract -- Heinrich Lissauer

8: Lister's tubercle -- Joseph Lister

9: Little's plexus

10: Urethral glands of Littre -- Alexis Littre

11: Lockwood's ligament -- Charles Barrett Lockwood

12: Angle of Louis -- Antoine Louis

13: Lovibond's angle

14: Lund's node

15: Crypts of Luschka, Ducts of Luschka, Foramina of Luschka and Luschka's joints -- Hubert von Luschka


"I've finally stopped getting dumber." -- Hungarian mathematician Paul Erdos (1913-1996)


To find out more about Scott LaFee and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

Copyright 2022 Creators Syndicate Inc.


blog comments powered by Disqus


Adam Zyglis Joel Pett Phil Hands Jimmy Margulies Peanuts Rick McKee