Grain of Truth

By Scott LaFee

August 28, 2019 6 min read

With Americans more health-conscious than ever (even if we're more talk than action), there are presumably healthier "whole-grain" versions of pretty much everything edible that contains grain. And we're gobbling them up. Well, OK ... some of us are.

A recent survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that whole grains make up at least a third of overall grain consumption. Roughly 15 years ago, 13% of adults said they consumed whole grains; by 2016, the percentage had risen modestly to 16%.

Approximately 20% of adults older than 60 eat whole grains, a figure that drops to 13% for adults ages 20 to 39. Women eat whole grains more often than men, as do people in higher income classes.

Whole grains offer the benefit of multiple nutrients not stripped away with refinement. They can also improve bowel health and promote the growth of healthy bacteria in the colon.

Body of Knowledge

When a doctor or nurse takes your pulse, you might notice they use their middle and index fingers, rather than their thumb, to measure beats. That's because there's a big artery in the thumb — the princeps pollicis artery — and like all arteries, it pulses, making it difficult to discern a pulse elsewhere.

Get Me That, Stat!

More than 80% of Americans surveyed said they thought cigarette manufacturers should reduce the amount of nicotine in their products. The sentiment was consistent among smokers and nonsmokers. Women and people over age 65 were most in favor of the change.

And maybe with good reason: Another report found 20% of nonsmokers said they are exposed to secondhand smoke at work, with half reporting that it happens at least twice a week.

Meanwhile in Florida ...

A federal judge in Florida recently ruled that the state can limit who gives out dietary advice — but only if the adviser charges a fee. The case involved a health coach who was fined for practicing without a dietary license. The health coach countered that she was simply, uh, exercising her free speech rights. The judge said fine. Share away. But if you also charge people for your services and health advice, you need a professional license. The health coach is appealing the ruling.


64,859: Price, in dollars, for a 30-day supply of Myalept, used to treat a rare hormone deficiency. Myalept is currently the most expensive prescription drug in the U.S.

Source: GoodRx

Stories for the Waiting Room

A large multistate survey of more than 44,000 adults found that LGBTQ Americans report more memory loss and cognitive decline than their heterosexual and cisgender counterparts. Exact reasons are not clear, but researchers say that issues such as depression or stress in social situations may be factors.

Doc Talk

Micturate: The desire to urinate.

Best Medicine

A distressed mother calls her pediatrician's office.

Mother to receptionist: "I need to speak to the doctor. It's an emergency. Junior has a temperature of 101.

Doctor to receptionist: "Find out how she's taking the temperature."

Receptionist to mother: "How are you taking it?"

Mother to receptionist: "I'm doing OK."


"If you resolve to give up smoking, drinking and loving, you don't actually live longer; it just seems longer." — British broadcaster, politician and chef Clement Freud (1924-2009)

Medical History

This week in 1962, the dangerous long-range side effects of DDT and other pesticides were the subject of a press conference question to President John F. Kennedy. In his reply, he acknowledged Rachel Carson's groundbreaking environmental book on the subject, "Silent Spring," and said the government was taking a closer look. In 1972, DDT was banned in the U.S.


Q: What percentage of your body is made up of blood?

a) 8%

b) 15%

c) 25%

d) 32%

A: a) 8%

Sum Body

Three things to know about belly buttons:

1. The shape of a belly button (innie or outie) depends upon the amount of space between the skin and the abdominal wall, which determines how much skin (and scar tissue) is left behind to form the belly button. Doctors can't choose at birth.

2. Most mammals have belly buttons. Other mammalian mothers chew off the umbilical cord, leaving a flat scar that's harder to detect than humans'. Some exceptions: Platypuses lay eggs, so no umbilical cords involved and no belly buttons. The umbilical cords of kangaroos and koalas generally fall off while still developing inside the mother's pouch, and a scar never forms.

3. Fear of belly buttons is called omphalophobia.

Last Words

"One last drink, please." — American distiller and creator of the eponymous whiskey Jack Daniel (1850-1911). He died of blood poisoning, purportedly from a toe injury caused by kicking an office safe, though multiple sources now suggest the story is apocryphal.

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

Photo credit: TiBine at Pixabay

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