Raw Deal

By Scott LaFee

February 28, 2018 6 min read

Proponents of raw milk like to describe it as a "living food," which is to say that the pasteurization process used in most commercially sold milk hasn't destroyed raw milk's heat-sensitive enzymes, vitamins and beneficial bacteria.

But that lack of pasteurization also means bad bacteria survive too. A recent CDC report looked at a 2016 outbreak of Campylobacter jejunibacteria, which can cause severe gastrointestinal problems and is resistant to several antibiotics, that was linked to raw milk from a Colorado dairy. At least 17 people who drank the raw milk became sick; 12 with C. jejuni.

The CDC calls raw milk a "risky rood." Maybe "raw water" too. A recent trend is drinking water, straight from a spring or natural source, that has not been filtered or treated in any way. Advocates say raw water retains key minerals that would be removed by processing. Supposedly it's also tastier. Critics say raw water may also contains chemicals from pesticides, dangerous microbes and perhaps animal fecal matter.

Body of Knowledge

Your brain is almost, but not quite, full-sized by your seventh birthday.

Number Cruncher

A Burger King double whopper with small fries (but hold the mayo, we're trying to be healthy here) contains 1,140 calories, 567 from fat. It has 63 grams of total fat or 97 percent of the recommended total fat intake for a 2,000-calorie daily diet. Yikes!

It also contains 170 milligrams of cholesterol (57 percent); 1,790 mg of sodium (75 percent); 82 grams of total carbohydrates (27 percent); 6 g of dietary fiber (24 percent); 11 g of sugar and 60 g of protein. Yikes multiplied!


30: Number of states that have "right-to-try" laws in place, which provide patients with terminal conditions access to experimental treatments

Source: Food and Drug Administration

Stories for the Waiting Room

In the 1800s, a German surgeon named Johan Friedrich Dieffenbach thought he had a solution for stuttering. It involved slicing into the patient's tongue and excising a triangular wedge. Later surgeons would also remove the adenoids and occasionally drill into the skull. Remarkably, Dieffenbach found patients willing to endure his procedure to eliminate their speech impediments, though there is no record of what they said post-operation, stuttering or not.

Doc Talk

Turgor: Refers to the tension and elasticity of skin. Doctors can assess it by gently grasping a pinch of skin and pulling. Normal skin returns to its flat shape within three seconds. Abnormal turgor may be a sign of dehydration or connective tissue disorders.

Phobia of the Week

Pogonophobia: fear of beards

Never say diet

The Major League Eating record for kolaches is 56 sausage and cheese kolaches in 8 minutes, held by Joey Chestnut. Kolaches are a type of pastry that typically hold dollop of fruit filling in the center, though sausage and cheese will do in a kolach.

Best Medicine

A guy goes to the doctor's office, and the doctor says, "I haven't seen you for a while."

The guy replies, "I know. I've been sick."


"The best medical specialty is dermatology. Your patients never call you in the middle of the night. They never died of the disease. And they never get any better."

—American physician Martin H. Fischer (1879-1962)

Medical History

This week in 1867, Dr. William G. Bonwill invented the dental mallet (a small hammer used to condense fillings) while watching a telegraph key sounder operate in a Philadelphia hotel.

Self Exam

Q: Which of the statements below is not true?

a) It's a myth that stress can turn hair gray, but it can cause hair loss.

b) Chronic stress in childhood can impair developmental growth.

c) Stress causes capillaries to open, worsening bleeding if a flesh wound should occur.

d) Peptic or stomach ulcers are caused by bacteria, not stress.

A: c) Stress causes capillaries to close, which restricts bleeding in the case of a flesh wound. Chronic childhood stress can lower production of growth hormones from the pituitary gland. Peptic ulcers are most commonly caused by the bacterium Helicobacter pylori or long-term use of aspirin and certain other painkillers. Stress, though, can make symptoms worse.

Curtain Calls

The last known formal duel in the United States occurred in 1959 when Barney Silva, a Los Angeles restaurant owner, and jazz musician Jack Sorin heatedly disagreed over their status with the same woman. The two men agreed to settle their dispute by meeting in Silva's living room, where they put their backs together, marched 10 paces, turned and fired handguns. Both men died. The woman, presumably, found a new and smarter boyfriend.

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.

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