Too Much Attention?

By Scott LaFee

December 26, 2018 5 min read

The rate of diagnosis for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children has nearly doubled over the past 20 years, but to wildly varying degrees in different parts of the country. For example, nearly three times as many children in Kentucky are diagnosed with ADHD (1 in 5 children) than in Nevada. It's estimated more than 5 percent of all children in the U.S. now take an ADHD medication.

Interestingly, recent research also shows that rates of ADHD diagnosis and treatment are 34 percent higher among children born in August compared to children born in September in states with a Sept. 1 school entry-age cutoff date.

It's not clear what's driving these statistics, but experts suggest age, maturity and simple over-diagnosis are factors.

Body of Knowledge

For reasons unknown, the left breast in women is more likely (5 to 10 percent) to develop cancer than the right. The left side of the body is also approximately 5 percent more prone to melanoma, a type of skin cancer.


317: Millions of women and girls in 69 low-income countries who reported using contraception in 2018, up from 271 million in 2012.

Source: Family Planning 2020

Stories for the Waiting Room

In ancient Egypt, where dogs were revered, a person bitten by a rabid dog was encouraged to eat the roasted liver of a dog infected with rabies to avoid contracting the disease. The tooth of a dog infected with rabies would also be put in a band tied to the arm of the person bitten.

Phobia of the Week

Ablutophobia: Fear of bathing (which likely means no fear of having close friends).

Number Cruncher

A single serving of Denny's turkey bacon (100 grams) contains 50 calories, 36 from fat. It has 4 grams of total fat or 6 percent of the recommended total fat intake for a 2,000-calorie daily diet, according to the Calorie Count database.

It also contains 30 milligrams of cholesterol (10 percent); 330 milligrams of sodium (14 percent); 1 gram of total carbohydrates (less than 1 percent); and 6 grams of protein.

Never Say "Diet"

The Major League Eating record for turducken (a deboned chicken stuffed inside a deboned duck stuffed inside a deboned turkey) is 7.75 pounds in 12 minutes, held by Sonya Thomas, who was no doubt stuffed, too.

Best Medicine

A woman in labor began screaming.

"Shouldn't! Couldn't! Wouldn't! Don't!"

Her husband, nearby, looked worried.

"Don't worry," said the attending obstetrician, calmly. "Those are just contractions."

Hypochondriac's Guide

Astasia-abasia is a condition in which the sufferer can neither stand nor walk in a normal manner, instead displaying a wild and erratic gait, nearly falling until recovering at the last moment.


"My doctor told me to do something that made me slightly out of breath, so I started smoking again." — English comedienne Jo Brand

Medical History

This week in 1960, Dr. Irving Cooper received a Christmas gift that inspired his invention of the first cryosurgery device to freeze tissue. The gift was a wine bottle opener which lifted the cork by injecting carbon dioxide gas into the bottle. He observed the gas was very cold when released and that he could direct small squirts from it to freeze tiny areas on the palm of his hand, which he would then watch thaw. Cooper observed that the freezing effect was localized and isolated from the surrounding tissue. From this inspiration, he developed a technique of brain surgery in which he used liquid nitrogen flowing in a thin tube to first deaden, and then freeze, tremor-causing brain cells or tumors. The invention created a new field of surgery with applications for other areas of the body as well.

Med School

Q: A disease is designated "rare" if it is present in less than 1 in 200,000 people. Roughly how many conditions are considered rare in the United States?

a) 1,000

b) 2,500

c) 4,000

d) 7,000

A: d) 7,000. More than 90 percent of these rare diseases have no approved treatment.

Last Words

"No comment." — American writer Edward Abbey (1927-1989), when asked if he had any last words. The phrase is also engraved on his headstone.

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: at Pixabay

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