Tele Friend

By Scott LaFee

October 16, 2019 6 min read

Telemedicine is consulting with a medical professional via computer or smartphone. With screens everywhere, it's quite doable. But is it used often? Among people over the age of 50, not so much, according to a University of Michigan poll.

Surveyors found that older patients aren't quite ready to virtually embrace their doctors and health care providers, with only 4% saying they'd had a video-based telehealth visit with a doctor. Their reactions were mixed.

More than half of those polled didn't know if their health care providers offered telemedicine services. More than 80% expressed at least one concern about seeing a doctor virtually rather than in person. And 47% balked at being able to manage the technology.

On the other hand, more than half said they would use telemedicine in certain situations, such as if they got sick while traveling or needed to follow up on previous care.

Body of Knowledge

Women have four times as many foot problems as men, primarily due the nature and comfort of their footwear. In a lifetime, the average person walks about 100,000 miles — or maybe limps.

Get Me That, Stat!

Male pediatricians still make more than their female counterparts, according to new data published in the journal Pediatrics, earning roughly 76% what their male peers earn, or $51,000 less per year. Another study found that female pediatricians were reportedly more likely to carry the heavier household burden, with primary responsibility for chores such as cooking and cleaning.


50: The percentage that most-death states' death rates (Top Five: Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Oklahoma and West Virginia) are higher than the fewest-death states' (Bottom Five: California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Minnesota and New York.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Doc Talk

Xerostomia: Dry mouth

Phobia of the Week

Rhytiphobia: Fear of getting wrinkles

Best Medicine

Mental illness runs in my family, which is weird because my parents weren't very athletic.


"It's paradoxical, that the idea of living a long life appeals to everyone, but the idea of getting old doesn't appeal to anyone." — Humorist Andy Rooney (1919-2011)

Medical History

This week in 1952, The New York Times reported that a mechanical heart was used for the first time to maintain the blood circulation of a 41-year-old man during an 80-minute operation on his heart.

Perishable Publications

Many, if not most, published research papers have titles that defy comprehension. They use specialized jargon, complex words and opaque phrases like "nonlinear dynamics." Sometimes they don't and they're still hard to figure out. Here's an actual title of an actual published research study: "A mathematical model of Bieber Fever: The most infectious disease of our time?" Published in 2012 by a team of Canadian biologists and mathematicians, the study looked at the pandemic popularity of the native-born pop singer, then arguably at the height of his acclaim.

The researchers described Bieber Fever as a highly infectious disease with symptoms that included time-wasting, excessive purchasing of useless merchandise and uncontrollable weeping or screaming. The researchers developed a mathematical model to predict the fever's spread and how quickly it would likely burn out.

Justin time, we hope.


Q: What part of your body has a head, neck, body and tail?

A: Your pancreas.

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:

Burpees have a fun name and look kind of fun to do, but the actual doing of them is surprisingly, uh ... invigorating. They're a whole-body workout, promoting cardiovascular endurance and muscle strength.

Start by standing upright with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms down at your sides. With your hands out in front of you, start to squat down. When your hands reach the ground, pop your legs straight back into a pushup position. Do a pushup. Come back up to the starting pushup position and jump your feet up to your palms by hinging at the waist. Get your feet as close to your hands as you can get, landing them outside your hands if necessary. Stand up straight, bringing your arms above your head, and jump.

This is one rep. Do three sets of reps as a beginner. Add more as you become more invigorated.


"In." — Actor Jack Lemmon (1925-2001) specified that he wanted his tombstone to simply list his name and the above epitaph, nothing else — not even dates of birth or death.

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: Bru-nO at Pixabay

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