How Do You Check Out?

By Scott LaFee

May 23, 2018 6 min read

In a new study published in the journal Circulation, researchers describe a handful of healthy habits linked to adding years to life expectancy. They used decades of health data from more than 120,000 people to look at five factors: eating healthy, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy body weight, not drinking too much and not smoking.

They found that men and women who checked all five boxes had an average life expectancy of 12 and 14 years, respectively, compared to people who followed none of those healthy habits.

Moreover, there was a dose-response relationship, meaning that for each healthy habit a person adopted, life expectancy increased.

Body of Knowledge

Taking a single step involves up to 200 muscles.

Get Me That, Stat!

Reported cases of acute hepatitis C jumped nearly 22 percent in the United States between 2015 and 2016, according to the CDC. Cases have ticked up as the opioid epidemic has worsened.

Stories for the Waiting Room

Do-it-yourself DNA kits are in the news these days, used for everything from tracing family genealogy to health assessments to helping track down alleged killers. In Chicago, a news station decided to see how the various online DNA sequencing services compared, but with a Sharpei wrinkle. A reporter submitted sets of DNA samples from himself and his pet Labrador retriever.

All but one of the services correctly differentiated between the human and non-human samples (basically by saying the latter was unreadable), but they diverged widely on conclusions about ancestry and ethnicity.

The service that failed to note the difference between human and dog DNA still sent back a 7-page report that brightly noted the owner of the DNA possessed remarkable strength and endurance and might want to work with a personal trainer.

Doc Talk

Apneustic breathing: A possible consequence of a blow to the head or a brain tumor. Patient breathes deeply, pauses, breathes out, pauses. (Often for many seconds). Repeats process.

Phobia of the Week

Coprastasophobia: fear of constipation

Number Cruncher

A single fruit crepe with strawberry topping from the International House of Pancakes contains 460 calories, 189 from fat. It has 21 grams of total fat or 32 percent of the recommended total fat intake for a 2,000-calorie daily diet.

It also contains 90 milligrams of cholesterol (30 percent); 250 mg of sodium (10 percent); 65 grams of total carbohydrates (22 percent); 3 grams of sugar and 6 g of protein.

Never Say Diet

The Major League Eating record for pizza is 83 slices of 10-inch pizza in 10 minutes, held by Geoffrey Esper. It's not clear if the pizzas were cheese topping only or with all of the fixins'. Esper won easily, beating his nearest opponent by a whopping 21 slices. It was a pizza cake.

Best Medicine

Scientists have just discovered the gene for shyness. They said they would have found it earlier, but it was hiding behind a couple of other genes.


"I am pretty sure that, if you will be quite honest, you will admit that a good rousing sneeze, one that tears open your collar and throws your hair into your eyes, is really one of life's sensational pleasures."

—American humorist Robert Benchley (1889-1945)

Medical History

This week in 1962, a 12-year-old boy's severed arm was reattached in the world's first successful replantation of a human limb with microvascular repair of vessels by a team of surgeons at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. The arm had been severed three inches below the shoulder by the wheels of a train. With additional operations, the boy regained some useful functioning of the limb, including a powerful grip. Though there was some "clawing" of the fingers, tactile recovery was good enough that he could identify coins and use his fingers to handle objects. The boy grew up to become a garage mechanic.

Self Exam

Q: Which of these is not an axial bone?

a) Cranium

b) Ribs

c) Shoulder

A: c) The shoulder is an appendicular bone, which means it was made to move. Those bones are connected to axial bones like the cranium, spine and ribs, which form the axis of the body and protect delicate organs.

Last Words

"Kurt Russell."

—American entrepreneur Walt Disney (1901-1966). Disney collapsed and died from complications of lung cancer. (He was a longtime chain smoker.) Russell's name was found scrawled on a piece of paper. No one has ever determined what Disney meant, not even Russell, a 15-year-old at the time who had starred in several Disney movies.

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

Photo credit: at Pixabay

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The Preparedness Index

The Preparedness Index

By Scott LaFee
We are becoming a nation of better Boy Scouts, whose motto is "Be Prepared." In its latest annual assessment of the nation's day-to-day readiness for managing health emergencies, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation says the U. Keep reading