Posts Tagged: health

Details has burst the proverbial bubble and told us exactly how terrible binge-watching TV is for us: the practice wreaks havoc on our spine, quads, gut, brain, lungs, and heart, and can result in everything from spine curvature to diminished lung capacity.

….But our fingers are totally fine, right? "Continue watching" Scandal, please.


Medical Student Syndrome

I was once CONVINCED I had Boerhaave syndrome, an extremely rare condition where your esophagus is ruptured and acid and air spill into your chest, because my chest tickled after a small bout of coughing. I spent two hours in the dark, unable to sleep, listening to my chest with a stethoscope, and UpToDate-ing (our version of WebMD) the various ways in which I'd be dead before morning. I ran to the Emergency Room and told them I needed a stat Gastrografin Esophogram, stat as in: yesterday. The attending took one look at me and said, “Congratulations, you're a cliché! Go Home.”

—Did you know that first- and second-year medical [...]


Four Unfunny Truths About Laughter Yoga

I went to laughter yoga the other night, I guess because I live in a big city and sometimes wear stretchy pants in the street and pretty regularly force-feed myself kale.

Regular yoga is no longer the cure-all for your out-of-balance, toxins-infested mind-body; the cure-all is laughter yoga. Basically, laughter yoga is the new method for scrubbing out our dirty bodies and changing our brain chemistry and banishing sadness and stress from everyone. Forever.

The idea is that laughing is good for you (science says so, after all), and that pretending to laugh can be just as good for your health and wellbeing as actual laughing. So that’s what you [...]


Everything Good For You Is Probably Bad For You

…when people take large doses of antioxidants in the form of supplemental vitamins, the balance between free radical production and destruction might tip too much in one direction, causing an unnatural state where the immune system is less able to kill harmful invaders. Researchers call this the antioxidant paradox.

Because studies of large doses of supplemental antioxidants haven’t clearly supported their use, respected organizations responsible for the public’s health do not recommend them for otherwise healthy people.

So why don’t we know about this? Why haven’t Food and Drug Administration officials made sure we are aware of the dangers? The answer is, they can’t.

From Sunday's New York Times: "[...]


How Proteins Work

Cytokines Every morning Cytokines wake up for another goddamn day at the office.

It is difficult to get out of bed when they know today will be a day exactly like any other. They consider for a moment: "Should I even bother?" Ultimately, they drag themselves up and go through the routine: coffee, shower, suit up, out the door.

"What if I wore the same suit for a week straight? Would anyone notice? Would anyone care?" they wonder, on their daily bus route from the primarily residential neighborhood in which they reside to the high rises of downtown Amyopolis. "That's right. The exact same blue pin stripes and pants [...]


Occupational Hazards: Frontman Edition


Diagnosis:     Constant Complaining

Symptoms:     Self-pity, self-absorption

Analysis:     Complaining is, and will always be, more fun than being thankful. As humans are inherently selfish (see David Foster Wallace’s This Is Water), it is nearly impossible to see things from any other perspective than my own small-minded and egomaniacal tunnel.

Best Guess:     Try to listen to your wife, your mother, and your friends, and stop complaining so much.

Hamilton Leithauser, lead singer of the Walkmen, chronicles his illnesses and self diagnoses over the years ("Fender Twin amplifier emits same frequencies as a .50-caliber WWII anti-aircraft gun"), leaving us with an entirely new subset of WebMD symptoms to consider. [The [...]


How I Found Out I Didn't Have the Herpes I'd Been Living With for Four Years

This story is an update to this story, published here in April 2012.

Six months ago, I sat waiting in my gynecologist’s exam room chair, fully clothed and wishing I were anywhere else. At that particular moment, I’d even have preferred being naked and spread-eagled on the paper-lined bed. It’s not true what they say about the stirrups being the worst part of the ladyparts exam room: it’s the chair. Once you’re clothed and in the chair, it means you’re there to talk.

You never forget your first time debriefing with your gynecologist. Mine was four years ago, at age 22, when I sat crumpled in a chair [...]


The Best Time I Watched My Doctor Examine My Stool Sample

You would think four days of lying on the couch, in the same flimsy nightgown, cracker crumbs clinging to your constant film of sweat, moving only to deal with your nearly-continuous flow of diarrhea, would strip all your dignity from you.

But no. It can get worse than that.


And the Chocolate Pills Taste Like Chocolate Pills

In a novel collaboration, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Seattle-based Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the National Institutes of Health, and Mars, Incorporated plan to partner on the largest research trial to date that will investigate the heart health benefits of cocoa flavanols. Once initiated, this large-scale, prospective nutritional intervention will evaluate the role of flavanols in reducing the risk of heart attack, stroke, and death from cardiovascular disease.

Let's cut to the chase here: they're testing out chocolate pills for our health. I say, skip the pills and keep eating the chocolate, but I'm no doctor. Where do we sign up? [BWH, AP]


The Secret to Health Is Sleeping Through Everything

Think you do just fine on five or six hours of shut-eye? Chances are, you are among the many millions who unwittingly shortchange themselves on sleep.

Here is one of those internet stories that you start reading, with genuine curiosity, hoping to learn more about your own sleeping issues and how you can be a better, healthier person from here on out. "I am among the many millions who unwittingly shortchange themselves on sleep!" you think, brightly. "This is just the thing for me." And then, right off the bat, it gets bleak:

Failing to get enough sleep night after night can compromise your health and may even shorten [...]