Poor Response Times

By Scott LaFee

January 9, 2019 5 min read

A national study comparing ambulance response times for cardiac arrest calls found that patients who live in low-income areas tend to wait almost four minutes longer for an ambulance to arrive compared to persons living in higher-income ZIP codes.

Childhood Asthma and Obesity

In a new study, researchers report that roughly one-quarter of new asthma cases in children with obesity are tied to obesity, and that 10 percent of all cases would be precluded if the children were not overweight or obese.

Experts already say obesity leads to 250,000 new cases of adult asthma each year.

Body of Knowledge

The body's bone marrow produces 3 million blood cells every second — while destroying the same amount.

Get Me That, Stat!

Praise the lard: A 2011 Northwestern University found that young adults who frequently attended religious activities were significantly more likely to become obese than those who didn't.


219: Number of malaria cases worldwide, in millions, in 2017

435: Number of people, in thousands, who died of malaria in 2017

Source: World Health Organization

Doc Talk

Asystole: A condition in which the heart no longer beats and usually cannot be restarted, i.e., has flatlined.

Phobia of the Week

Nyctophobia: Fear of the dark (also called achluophobia, lygophobia or scotophobia)

Number Cruncher

A Dunkin' Donuts bacon, egg and cheese English muffin breakfast sandwich (100 grams) contains 290 calories, 90 from fat. It has 10 grams of total fat, or 15 percent of the recommended total fat intake for a 2,000-calorie daily diet, according to the Calorie Count database.

It also contains 70 milligrams of cholesterol (23 percent); 700 milligrams of sodium (29 percent); 32 grams of total carbohydrates (11 percent); 7 grams of dietary fiber (28 percent); 2 grams of sugar and 16 grams of protein.

Never Say "Diet"

The Major League Eating record for potato wedges is 3.74 pounds in 8 minutes, held by aptly named Gravy Brown. Warning: Most of these records are held by professional eaters, the rest by people who really should find something better to do.

Best Medicine

Patient: "I just heard a great joke about amnesiacs."

Doctor: "What is it?"

Patient: "I forget."

Doctor: "That happens."

Patient: "What happens?"

Doctor: "You forget things?"

Patient: "Who are you?"


"A natural death is where you die by yourself without the aid of a doctor." — Mark Twain (1835-1910)

Medical History

This week in 1947, Stanford University researchers Hubert S. Loring and C.E. Schwerdt successfully isolated the poliovirus. Laboratory tests and photographs showed it to be at least 80 percent pure and that it could lead to producing an impurity-free vaccine for use against infantile paralysis. Other vaccines existing at the time had problems with large amounts of impurities. The virus was obtained by purification from ground-up brain and spinal cord of rats infected with the poliovirus.

Sum Body

Human decomposition can be broken down into four stages:

1. Autolysis, or self-digestion, begins roughly four minutes after death. As soon as blood circulation and respiration stop, the body has no way of getting oxygen or removing wastes. Excess carbon dioxide creates an acidic environment, causing membranes in cells to rupture. The membranes release enzymes that begin eating the cells from the inside out. Rigor mortis occurs during this stage.

2. Bloat is the result of leaked enzymes from autolysis producing gases that are trapped within the corpse. In some cases, these gases can double body size. Usually, this happens three to five days after death.

3. Active decay follows as organs, muscles and skin liquefy. Harder tissues, such as hair and cartilage, decay at slower rates. A cadaver loses most of its mass during this stage. This process begins three to four weeks after death.

4.Advanced decay and skeletonization. The process varies based on factors such as ambient temperature and moisture.

Curtain Calls

In 2009, Vincent Smith II, an employee at the Cocoa Services Inc. chocolate factory in Camden, New Jersey, was loading chunks of raw chocolate into a large melting tank when he was struck and rendered unconscious by one of the rotating mixing paddles. Smith was trapped in the tank, which was filled with liquid chocolate at 120 degrees Fahrenheit, for 10 minutes before rescuers were able to extract him. He died shortly thereafter.

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: at Pixabay

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