Health Advice



The Scoop on Scoping

Scott LaFee on

The first randomized trial of colonoscopy screening is out and, well, it's a complicated picture. The data showed that inviting people to get a colonoscopy didn't reduce colon cancer deaths, but it did reduce cancer incidence by 18%.

That's sort of disappointing news for advocates who believed screening would effectively render colon cancer extinct. Current guidelines recommend that adults 50 to 75 years of age get a colonoscopy every 10 years or more frequently, if indicated.

Body of Knowledge

The density (amount of mass contained in a volume of material) of human tooth enamel is 181 pounds per cubic foot. That compares to 128.6 for a cow femur and 78.7 for spider silk.


4: Percentage both the number and rate of deaths by suicide rose in 2021 in the U.S.


Source: CDC National Center for Health Statistics

Stories for the Waiting Room

Abraham Lincoln reportedly was prescribed mercury pills for a time to treat chronic melancholy or depression. They didn't help. A 2001 study, published in Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, reports Lincoln became even gloomier and morose, given to outbursts of anger or inappropriate laughter. His neurological symptoms, concluded researchers, were characteristic of mercury poisoning.

Lincoln stopped taking the pills a few months after being inaugurated as president in 1861, going on to exhibit extraordinary maturity, calm and steadiness during one of the nation's most trying times.


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