It's the Kill Thing

By Scott LaFee

May 13, 2015 5 min read

Researchers at the University of California, Davis asked healthy young adults to consume drinks sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup. After just two weeks, the young adults weren't so healthy, showing increases in three key risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

The recently published results are the first to demonstrate a direct dose-dependent relationship between the amount of added sugar consumed in sweetened beverages and increases in specific risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

"These findings clearly indicate that humans are acutely sensitive to the harmful effects of excess dietary sugar over a broad range of consumption levels," said study author Kimber Stanhope.

The three elevated factors were blood level changes in lipoproteins, triglycerides and uric acid — all known to be indicators of cardiovascular disease risk. Risk increased with the size of the high-fructose corn syrup dose. The effects were greater in men than in women and independent of body weight gain.

Body of Knowledge

The average person's skin weighs more than twice that of his or her brain — 8 to 10 pounds, compared with just over 3.

Get Me That, Stat!

More than half the doctors in Finland are women.

Life in Big Macs

One hour of showering burns 136 calories (based on a 150-pound person), or the equivalent of 0.2 Big Mac. It also consumes more than 130 gallons of water.


195,000: average annual salary, in dollars, for a primary care doctor in 2015.

284,000: average annual salary for a medical specialist.

6.5: cumulative average lifetime income, in millions of dollars, for a primary care physician.

10: cumulative average lifetime income, in millions of dollars, for a medical specialist.

Source: Medscape

Doc Talk

Capillary refill: When a fingernail is pressed, the nail bed turns white. Capillary refill refers to the return of blood to the nail bed, giving it a pinkish color. A good "cap refill" time is two seconds or less.

Phobia of the Week

Gamophobia: fear of marriage or commitment.

Best Medicine

A veterinarian was feeling ill and went to see her doctor.

The doctor asked her all of the usual questions — about symptoms, how long they had been occurring, etc. After many minutes of inquiry, she interrupted the doctor and said: "Hey, look, I'm a vet. I don't need to ask my patients all of these kinds of questions. I can tell what's wrong just by looking. Why can't you?"

The doctor nodded and then proceeded to look the sick vet up and down. Finally, he wrote a prescription and gave it to the veterinarian. "Here you go," he said. "Of course, if this doesn't work, we'll have to put you down."


"A doctor's reputation is made by the number of eminent men who die under his care." — playwright George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)

Medical History

This week in 1987, Clinton House became the first living heart donor in the U.S., during a so-called domino transplant at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. To replace his lungs damaged by cystic fibrosis, doctors gave House a combined heart and lung transplant from an auto accident victim in a 17-hour operation. They believed that option was safer because there were more problems with lungs-only transplants. House gave his own healthy heart to a second recipient, John Couch, 38, at the same hospital. (Two similar procedures had already been performed in Britain.) House survived for 14 months with his new lungs and heart, until overcome by the consequences of rejection.

Curtain Calls

In 1982, a 30-year-old golfer named George M. Prior died in Arlington, Virginia, from a severe allergic reaction to Daconil, a fungicide used on the course he frequented. Prior unwittingly ingested a toxic amount of the substance through his habit of carrying his tee in his mouth when playing.

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

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