For Men Only, by Scott LaFee

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Doctors are increasingly using the repurposed drug tadalafil to prevent heart complications in people with Type 2 diabetes. A small study has found that the drug doesn’t benefit women with diabetes. Maybe that’s not surprising: Tadalafil is primarily marketed as Cialis, the popular erectile dysfunction medication. Cialis appears to improve how heart muscle fibers contract and circulate blood in men, but not women.

The findings recall something similar with another erection drug, Viagra, which was originally developed to treat chest pain. It proved ineffective for that purpose but stood up to another.

This Is Your Average Brain

For the first time, scientists have created reference charts for the human brain, mapping its growth from infancy to 100 years old. It’s a remarkable achievement, but it comes with caveats: The charts are limited by lack of age and geographic diversity. There’s no consensus on what a “benchmark” actually means. And there are concerns that reference charts might create or exacerbate stereotypes.

Right now, the charts are intended only for pure research.

Get Me That, Stat!

Lyme disease gets its name from a town in Connecticut, but the tick-borne disease is global, infecting approximately 14.5% of the world’s population, according to new research.

Stories for the Waiting Room

On average, we each shed roughly 30,000 to 40,000 skin cells per hour. If we’re losing all of that skin all of the time, why do tattoos stay in place? The answer: Tattoo ink resides not in skin cells but as part of the immune system. White blood cells, known as macrophages, arrive at the tattoo site to repair a newly tattooed injury, seeking to remove the foreign body (tattoo ink).

Macrophages can’t break down this ink, so they “eat” it and remain in place to protect the skin. When those macrophages die, other macrophages arrive to consume the released ink. That’s why removing tattoos is extremely difficult. While lasers can kill the cells and ink-holding macrophages, more macrophages arrive to repair the skin injury caused by the laser. They consume the ink released by the macrophages killed in the tattoo removal process, which is why a tattoo often looks faded after a few removal sessions.

Doc Talk

Onychocryptosis: an ingrown toenail

Phobia of the Week

Ergophobia: fear of work (I don’t like to work, ergo I fear it.)

Food for Thought

Taurine has a chemistry similar to other amino acids and is found naturally in meat, fish, dairy products and human milk. Some research suggests it boosts athletic and cognitive performance, so it’s sold as a supplement or in energy drinks.

It’s called taurine because it was first isolated in 1827 from bull bile.

Best Medicine

Birthdays have been empirically proven to be good for your health. People who have more of them live longer.

Observation

“I drive way too fast to worry about cholesterol.” — Comedian Steven Wright (1955-)

Medical History

This week in 1848, the first U.S. patent for a surgical or dental operating chair with adjustable elevation and tilt of the seat and back was issued to M.W. Hanchett of Syracuse, New York (No. 5711).

Ig Nobel Apprised

The Ig Nobel Prizes celebrate achievements that make people laugh, then think. A look at real science that’s hard to take seriously, and even harder to ignore.

In 2020, the Ig Nobel Prize in entomology (the study of insects) went to a research team that collected evidence finding that many entomologists are afraid of spiders, which are not insects.

Self-exam

Q: If you laid all of your blood vessels end to end, how many times would they encircle the Earth?

a) .5 times

b) Once

c) Twice

d) 100

A: c) Twice. All totaled up, your combined arteries, veins and capillaries stretch out more than 60,000 miles.

Epitaphs

“The Last Stooge” — Tombstone of Curly Joe DeRita (1909-1993), an American actor and comedian best known as a member of the Three Stooges. The trio included at various times Moe Howard (1897-1975) and brothers Shemp (1895-1955) and Curly (1903-1953), Larry Fine (1902-1975) and Joe Besser (1907-1988).

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: andyhernandezv94 at Pixabay





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