Antibiotics: Doing the Same With Less

By Scott LaFee

May 12, 2021 5 min read

New recommendations from the American College of Physicians suggest patients are taking antibiotics for too long.

Often, antibiotic are prescribed for daily use over a week or longer. The new recommendations suggest five days is best practice for a variety of common infections, such as uncomplicated bronchitis, community-acquired pneumonia, simple urinary tract infections and nonpurulent cellulitis, a type of skin and soft tissue infection.

Of Mice and Men, When Sick

Turns out social distancing isn't an entirely human notion. Researchers say that when mice sense another mouse is sick, based on distinctive odors, they stay away. Or at least they don't mate. The sickness cues triggers a rodent brain circuit that says the social interaction isn't worth the cost.

Body of Knowledge

Your body consists mostly three elements: hydrogen (62.91%), oxygen (24.003%) and carbon (11.97%). That totals 98.89% of you. Nitrogen makes up another 0.58%, calcium 0.24%, phosphorus 0.14% and sulfur 0.04%. All of the other elements in your body are squeezed into 11 one-hundredths of 1 percent.

Get Me That. Stat!

Just under half of the 33,000 newly minted doctors this year chose primary care for their residencies. Primary care includes internal medicine, pediatrics and family medicine. Among the most popular specialties were neurology, emergency medicine and psychiatry.


37,300: Estimated number of U.S. children who have lost a parent to COVID-19 (three-quarters were adolescents).

Source: JAMA Network

Doc Talk

Bruxism: teeth grinding.

Mania of the Week

Coprolalomania: a penchant for using foul language.


"A doctor whose breath smells has no right to a medical opinion." — American physician and author Martin H. Fischer (1879-1962)

Medical History

It's not possible to know when the world's first surgery occurred, or even how to define what constitutes the first surgery. However, a human jawbone found in Egypt and dated to 2650 B.C. had two perforations below the root of the first molar, suggesting someone was trying to drain an abscessed tooth. How successful they were is another unknown.

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 a published research study: "Are full or empty beer bottles sturdier and does their fracture-threshold suffice to break the human skull?"

German researchers published their findings in 2009, concluding that a full bottle strikes a target with 70% more energy than an empty bottle. Compassionately, they conducted their experiments by dropping bottles from a tower, rather than knocking actual heads. They concluded that both full and empty bottles are capable of breaking a human skull.


In medicine, "algia" refers to pain. Where are these particular kinds of pain?

1. Otalgia

2. Odontalgia

3. Veisalgia

4. Photalgia

5. Sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia

Answers: 1. Ear 2. Teeth 3. Head (hangover) 4. Eyes (due to light sensitivity) 5. Head (i.e. a brain freeze or ice cream headache)

Sum Body

The power output of a man who talks for three hours a day through an average lifespan is sufficient to heat a cup of tea to the temperature in which it is usually drunk.

Medical myths

Babies do not get fevers when they teethe — at least there is no compelling evidence to indicate an association. If a baby is feverish, a doctor's visit may be in order, teething or not.

Curtain Calls

In 2004, 24-year-old Aidan Bray of Kent, Washington, was killed when a lava lamp exploded, piercing his heart with glass shards covered in blue waxy goo. Ordinarily, the lamps pose no explosive threat. They are slowly heated by a 40-watt bulb, but Bray attempted to speed the process by placing the lamp on a lit stove.

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: stevepb at Pixabay

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