Health Advice



Trained Fat

Scott LaFee on

Fat, or adipose, tissue isn't just inert blubber threatening our health and self-esteem; it's a functional part of our bodies, interacting with other organs to boost muscle and brain metabolism.

Like everything else, it loses functionality with age, but new research shows that rigorous, regular exercise can help keep your fat fully functional -- at least, the fat you don't actually burn off. And fat cells that are healthy and happy can help ward off a lot of human diseases, from cancer to diabetes.

Body of Knowledge

There are approximately 600 muscles in the human body, divided into three main types: skeletal, which allow for movement; smooth, which make up internal structures like the digestive tract and blood vessels; and cardiac, your heart. The biggest muscle is the gluteus maximus in your buttocks; the smallest is the stapedius, which stabilizes the smallest bone in your body -- the stapes bone of the middle ear.

Get Me That, Stat!

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 91% of office-based physicians say they spend time outside normal work hours documenting clinical care. Seventeen percent said it was less than one hour per day; 41% said it was 1-2 hours; 24% said 2-4 hours; and 8.6% said it was more than four hours.


85: Percentage of Americans surveyed who said they were satisfied with the way things were going in their personal lives

17: Percentage who said the same thing about the overall direction of the country

Source: Gallup, 2022

Stories for the Waiting Room

New research suggests that on extremely hot summer days, more common with climate change, emergency room visits for mental health crises related to substance use, anxiety, stress and more increase dramatically.

Doc Talk

Orthostatic hypotension: getting dizzy from standing up too fast

Phobia of the Week

Hypengyophobia or hypegiaphobia: fear of responsibility

Best Medicine

Healthy sleep not only lengthens your life; it shortens your workday.

Hypochondriac's Guide


Hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathy is a rare neurological disorder that affects the nervous system and, most notably in those impacted, can cause the complete inability to feel physiological pain. But if that sounds like a benefit, it's not. People with HSAN have been seriously injured because their bodies didn't warn them of imminent harm. HSAN also is characterized by hearing loss, seizures, sleep problems and progressive dementia.


"My favorite machine at the gym is the television." -- Anonymous, or just about everybody

Medical History

This week in 1954, the Salk vaccine for polio began mass testing, involving 1.8 million children.


Q: What is the strongest muscle in the human body?

a) The tongue

b) The jaw

c) The heart

d) The gluteus maximus

A: A popular answer is a) the tongue because it's all-muscle, extremely agile and always moving. But strength is not easily defined, and there is no single answer. The glutes of your buttocks provide enduring stability to stand, walk and run. The muscles of the jaw can apply up to 125 kilograms of force in a single bite. The heart must work throughout your life or there is no life, beating an estimated 2.5 billion times in an average lifetime.

Fit to Be Tried

There are thousands of exercises, and you've only got one body, but that doesn't mean you can't try them all: A bridge kick engages the whole lower body from the core down. Lay on your back with your knees bent up. Your ankles should be in line with your knees. Place a cushion or pillow in between your knees and squeeze to keep it in place. Lift up through the belly button and squeeze the glutes to engage the core. Push your arms and hands down into the ground as you pull your hips upward. Once you reach this bridge position, keep your glutes engaged as you kick out your left leg. Lower down and repeat on the right side. Make sure you keep your kicks slow and controlled.

Curtain Calls

A hospitalized 88-year-old woman in Brazil died when a nursing technician allegedly injected soup into a vein rather than into her feeding tube. She died 12 hours later of a pulmonary embolism, though hospital officials disputed that the soup error was the reason.


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