Taking Mental Note

By Scott LaFee

July 10, 2019 5 min read

Private insurance claims for mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety, have increased 108% since 2007, according to a new report. Major depressive disorder was the most common reason for a filed claim. Much of the increase was due to more claims by those aged 22 and younger. Among claimants 18 and younger, the most common reason was cannabis abuse.

Note: The data was solely from private insurers and doesn't reflect claims involving public insurance or the uninsured.

Throwing Shade on Homemade Sunscreens

A new study of popular do-it-yourself sunscreens (usually including ingredients such as lavender, shea butter, coconut oil and carrot oil) found that, as tasty as they sound, they don't offer much in the way of sun protection.

Despite claims of up to 50 SPF, the highest level researchers could confirm after evaluating 189 sunscreen recipes was 1 to 7 SPF.

Body of Knowledge

Fingernails grow an average of 3.5 millimeters per month, just over a tenth of an inch. Nails on the dominant hand tend to grow faster. Toenails grow at about half that rate. Men's nails grow faster than women's, except possibly during pregnancy. Nail biting is called onychophagia.

Doc Talk

Obdormition: A sensation of numbness in one or both legs when standing up after sitting cross-legged for a period of time

Phobia of the Week

Pentheraphobia: Irrational fear of your mother-in-law


"Those who have no time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness." — Edward Stanley, the 15th earl of Derby (1826-1893)

Sum Body

Seven historical remedies for migraine headaches:

1. Bloodletting: Extracting some blood via scalpel or leech to drain the body of bad "humors" or fluids.

2. Garlic. Make a small incision in temple, insert peeled garlic, leave for 15 hours.

3. Cupping, which involved inverting hot vessels on body to ostensibly draw out poisons, similar to bloodletting.

4. Trepanation: Drilling or cutting holes in the skull.

5. Dead moles (tied to the head).

6. Electric fish. The idea was to touch one and be shocked.

7. Mud foot baths. No clear reason why this would help, but it was probably relaxing.

Fit to Be Tried

There are thousands of exercises, and you've only got one body, but that doesn't mean you can't try them all.

Handstands aren't just for kids, though most people give up on doing them long before adulthood (assuming one can do them at all). They are extraordinarily useful for building upper body strength and balance. Start with two sets of back-to-wall handstands and two sets of the face-to-wall version three times per week. Once you can hold both of them for 30-plus seconds, you can start trying the kick-up-to-a-handstand version. When you can do handstands free-standing, you're officially totally awesome — unless you want to try one-arm handstands or handstand pushups!

Med School

Diseases and ailments change names, even if their symptoms do not. Can you pick the one-time name for each of these conditions?

1. Syphilis: a) Venereal Valentine; b) Cupid's Disease; c) The Bumps of Eros

2. Dysentery: a) Bloody Flux; b) Dropsy; c) The Devil's Stool

3. Tuberculosis: a) Dysfunction; b) Scrumption; c) Consumption

4. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: a) Gaspings; b) Winde; c) Snorts

5. Writer's cramp: a) Hack's Ache; b) Poet's Pangs; c) Scrivener's Palsy

6. Edema: a) Dropsy; b) Stopsy; c) Mopsy

7. Lead poisoning: a) Dirty Rumbles; b) Dry Bellyache; c) Silversmith's Disease

Answers: 1. b 2. a 3. c 4. b 5. c 6. a 7. b

Last Words

"She is squeezing my hand!" — Inventor and futurist Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983). In the period leading up to his death, Fuller's wife had been lying comatose in a Los Angeles hospital, dying of cancer. It was while visiting her that he made the above exclamation. He then stood up, suffered a heart attack and died an hour later. His wife died 36 hours later.

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: TeroVesalainen at Pixabay

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