Golden Age at the Golden Arches

By Scott LaFee

September 23, 2020 5 min read

Fast food might not be very good for you in terms of physical health, but a survey conducted of 125 older adults (ages 55-92) in the Minneapolis area found that regular visits to familiar eateries was good for their mental health, mostly because it provided a comfortable, easy-to-access place in which to socialize with others.

"Traditionally, fast food has a negative relationship with cognition — we know that diets high in saturated fat cholesterol are associated with increased risk of cognitive decline," said lead author Jessica Finlay, a research fellow at the University of Michigan.

"It has been criticized in public health literature because it can offer unhealthy food choices. But as a geographer, I'm interested in the places themselves and what those spaces mean for the everyday lives of older adults."

Fast food joints and similar venues, such as coffee shops, provided a place to gather and interact with others, stimulating the brain. The researchers' advice: Skip the Big Mac, but enjoy the chat.

Body of Knowledge

Currently, there are an estimated 300 bodies frozen in liquid nitrogen and stored around the country in hopes that science will someday be able to bring them back to life. (Walt Disney is not among them.)

Get Me That, Stat!

Pregnant women who use venlafaxine, a common antidepressant marketed as Effexor, may be more likely to deliver babies with birth defects, according to new research. Up to 8% of women are prescribed antidepressants during pregnancy.

Counts

1 in 10: Ratio of high school students who use recommended protection when having sex

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Doc Talk

Obdormition: sleeping

Mania of the Week

Ludomania: an uncontrollable compulsion to gamble

Never Say Diet

The Major League Eating speed-eating record for onions is three onions (8.5 ounces) in one minute, held by Eric Booker. It was a lonely feat. Folks would have congratulated Booker upon setting the record, but, well, he had just eaten a bunch of onions.

Stories for the Waiting Room

Most of the fat you lose exercising is lost through exhaling. A British study in 2014 found that 84% of burned fat is converted to carbon dioxide and exits via the lungs. The rest is converted to water and exits as urine, sweat, tears and other bodily fluids.

Best Medicine

Years of smoking finally caught up with a man one morning when he keeled over at work, clutching his heart. He was rushed to a hospital and peppered with questions.

"Do you smoke?" asked the emergency department physician.

"No," the man whispered. "I quit."

"That's good," said the doctor. "When did you quit?"

"Around 9:30 this morning."

Observation

"I don't want a whole dessert; let's just get two spoons." — a former friend

Medical History

This week in 1879, Richard S. Rhodes invented the audiophone, the first hearing aid.

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 actual published research study: "Leaning to the left makes the Eiffel Tower seem smaller: posture-modulated estimation."

Yep, as these Dutch researchers discovered in a paper published in 2012, if you lean a bit to the left when gawking at Paris' famous landmark, it looks smaller. It's a trick of the brain. Mentally, most people unconsciously assume that smaller things go on the left and larger things go the right.

Self-Exam

Q: What is "cupid's bow"? (Hint: Look in the mirror.)

A: It's your philtrum, that little indent under your nose. The philtrum doesn't serve any purpose in life but rather is an artifact of development in the womb. In utero, the two sides of your face form independently and then join in the middle. The philtrum is a residual reminder. When things don't fuse correctly, cleft palates result. Ancient Romans called the philtrum "cupid's bow." The word "philtrum" derives from the Greek term for "love potion."

Epitaphs

"Lost life by stab in falling on

"Ink Eraser, evading six young

"Women trying to give him

"Birthday kisses in office

"Metropolitan Life building" — tombstone of George Spencer Millet (1894-1909), who was an office boy and, apparently, morbidly shy

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

Photo credit: Free-Photos at Pixabay

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