Viral Hepatitis Kills -- A Lot

By Scott LaFee

July 27, 2016 5 min read

Tuberculosis, malaria and HIV/AIDS are global scourges, killing millions of people worldwide each year. Viral hepatitis is worse. A report published in the Lancet looked at death data from 183 countries and found the mortality rate for viral hepatitis is growing, from 890,000 deaths in 1990 to 1.45 million in 2013.

That's more people killed by hepatitis than AIDS (1.3 million in 2013) or TB (1.4 million in 2013). The vast majority of hepatitis deaths were due to hepatitis B or C, which cause significant damage to the liver. What makes the news more concerning is that there are effective vaccines and treatments for viral hepatitis.

Calling all Donors

In 2014, according to federal health statistics, almost 30,000 people received organ transplants, but that is just a fraction of the waiting list, which exceeds 121,000 and is growing.

While more and more people are signing up as possible donors, efforts to boost that number are ongoing. They recently got an upgrade from Apple, which is including a donor registration option in its Health app with the release of iOS 10.

Click on the app, fill out the details and the information is sent to the National Donate Life Registry. It also is stored in the phone in case of emergency.

Body of Knowledge

Seven of 10 men have some form of color blindness, but only one in 1,000 women. The most common form is a red-green deficiency (an inability to differentiate either red or green). For many wives and girlfriends, this explains their partners' clothing choices.

Number Cruncher

A brownie (60 grams or a 2-inch square) contains 243 calories, 91 from fat. It has 10.1 grams of total fat or 16 percent of the recommended total fat intake for a 2,000-calorie daily diet.

It also contains 10 milligrams of cholesterol (3 percent); 153 mg of sodium (6 percent); 39 grams of total carbohydrates (13 percent); and 2.7 g of protein.


40: Percentage of the top 1 percent of most popular sunscreen products sold on (26 of 65 analyzed) that did not actually meet sun protection requirements set by the American Academy of Dermatology

Source: Shuai Xu, et al. JAMA Dermatology July 6, 2016

Doc Talk

Coag panel: a blood test used to determine the clotting factors of a patient's blood

Phobia of the Week

Apeirophobia: fear of infinity

Never Say Diet

The Major League Eating speed-eating record for 16-ounce servings of kale salad (that's right, kale!) is 25.5 in 8 minutes, held by Gideon Oji. Despite kale's reputation as a superfood, no one should assume that eating more than 25 pounds of the leafy vegetable in one speedy sitting is a particularly healthy thing to do.

Best Medicine

First guy: Did you hear about Fred?

Second guy: No, what happened?

First guy: He's got selective retrograde amnesia. He can't remember how to walk upstairs.

Second guy: That's terrible. Is he in therapy?

First guy: Yeah, but it's slow going. They have to do it step-by-step.


"It should be the function of medicine to have people die young as late as possible." —American epidemiologist Ernst L. Wynder (1922-1999)

Sum Body

In reality, there are countless hair types, but the Andre Walker system (created by Oprah Winfrey's hairstylist) is among the most commonly used classifying systems. It categorizes hair into four basic types:

1. Straight

2. Wavy

3. Curly

4. Kinky

Within these four types are multiple subtypes defined by factors like thickness of hair strands, oil content, body and volume. Straight hair is deemed the most resilient type. Curly is most voluminous, but climate-dependent (it frizzes with moisture). Wavy may alternate between straight and curly. Kinky hair has fewer cuticle layers than other hair types, making it more susceptible to damage.

Medical History

This week in 1983, a baboon was the first nonhuman primate conceived in a lab dish by researchers in San Antonio, Texas. The eggs with attached spermatozoa were transferred surgically into the oviduct of another baboon, who then gave birth to the offspring.

Medical Myths

Spicy foods do not cause stomach ulcers, which have been linked to bacterial infections (Helicobacter pylori) and consumption of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in high doses or for long periods of time. On the other hand, spicy foods may irritate an ulcer already present.

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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