Longer, But Not Twice as Long

By Scott LaFee

September 21, 2016 5 min read

Twins tend to live longer than people who aren't twins (another way of saying pretty much everybody else), report University of Washington researchers in a new study, and identical twins live even longer.

The data comes from the Danish Twin Registry, which contains information on 2,932 same-sex twins born between 1870 and 1900 who survived past age 10. The researchers compared their complete lifespans against overall Danish population data.

For male twins, the peak benefit comes around their mid-40s, when they enjoy a 6 point difference compared to the general population. In other words, if you take 100 boys in the general population and 84 are still alive at age 45, the number would be 90 for male twins. For women, the peak mortality advantage came in their early 60s, with a point difference of 10.

The authors suggest that the twin benefit may be similar to the marriage protection effect, which posits that being married serves as a social safety net that provides psychological and physiological benefits.

Body of Knowledge

Your pupils contract just before you fall asleep.

Get Me That, Stat!

In a newly published study in the journal Pediatrics, 87 percent of surveyed doctors said they have encountered parents refusing to vaccinate their children, up from 75 percent a decade earlier. The most common reason given by parents was that vaccines aren't necessary because they no longer see diseases like measles, mumps and rubella.

There is a reason for that, of course: Vaccines.

Life in Big Macs

One hour of vacuuming burns 238 calories (based on a 150-pound person) or the equivalent of 0.3 Big Macs with cheese. That means you'd have to vacuum for almost half a work day to eat a whole burger — which sucks.

Stories for the Waiting Room

With all of the justifiable concern about the Zika virus, it is not surprising that there would be talk about "mosquito teeth." Yep, they have them — of a sort. Female mosquitoes bite by poking their needlelike proboscis through the skin, the tip of which has 47 sharp, serrated edges. These are what are sometimes referred to as "teeth," though in fact they are not used in the usual sense of biting and chewing since the mosquito's desired meal is already in liquid form.


3.9: Percentage of American adults who have been diagnosed at some point in their lives with gout, "the disease of kings."

Source: Boston University School of Medicine

Doc Talk

Clip and strip: removal of surgical staples and adhesive sutures

Phobia of the Week

Ordacleaphobia: fear of imperfecshun (OMG!)

Never Say Diet

The Major League Eating record for pepperoni with cheese is 252 slices in 6 minutes, held by Patrick Bertoletti. It is not known whether Bertoletti, after finished his 2.25-pound snack, went out for dinner to eat the rest of a pizza.

Best Medicine

Patient #1: You're looking gloomy. What's wrong?

Patient #2: My doctor thinks I'm paranoid.

Patient #1: He told you that?

Patient #2: No, but I can tell.


"A drug is that substance which, when injected into a rat, will produce a scientific report." Unknown

Medical History

This week in 1878, an English doctor named Charles Drysdale publicly warned against the use of tobacco, which he observed had become alarmingly popular in Great Britain. He had previously published a booklet describing its apparent ill effects upon health, such as a "most distressing palpitation of the heart." The U.S. Surgeon General would not issue his much-noted tobacco warning until 1964 — 86 years later.

Self Exam

Q: What percentage of our waking hours do we spend with eyes closed, blinking?

a) 0.05 percent

b) 1 percent

c) 10 percent

d) 25 percent

A: c) 10 percent. The average person blinks 15-20 times per

minute, up to 1,200 times per hour or 28,800 times in a day.

Babies blink much less than adults; women slightly more

than men. Stress, tiredness and anxiety all increase blinking


Last Words

"If any of you have a message for the Devil, give it to me, for I am about to meet him!"—Lavinia Fisher (1793-1820), hanged for highway robbery (a capital offense in South Carolina in those days) while wearing her white wedding dress gown. Her husband and fellow convicted criminal, John Fisher, was also hanged.

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