Scott LaFee

Researchers say that for patients with clinical depression who do not improve with antidepressant medications, the remedy might be nitrous oxide, otherwise known as laughing gas.

A small study found that a low dose of laughing gas was just as effective at improving depression as a higher dose of standard medications in patients with treatment-resistant depression. There were also fewer adverse side effects after 2 weeks. Larger clinical trials are planned.

Body of Knowledge

Thumbs have their own pulse, which is why doctors use middle and index fingers to take yours. The big artery in the thumb, called the princeps pollicis, makes it hard to feel the pulse in the neck or wrist.

Get Me That, Stat!

In a poll from the nonprofit West Health and Gallup, more than 80% of the 3,700 surveyed said the government should play a major role in keeping Medicare prescription costs down, but only 20% thought government intervention would hamper medical and pharmaceutical innovation.

Incidentally, an AARP report says brand-name prescription drugs rose twice as fast in 2020 as rate of inflation. Over the last 15 years, 65 regularly used brand name drugs have experienced a cumulative price increase of nearly 280%.

Doc Talk

Butt and guts: slang for a gastroenterologist.

Mania of the Week

Cacospectomania: a compulsion to stare at repulsive sights.

Food for Thought

Salt water is sometime injected into raw meat, mostly chicken, to enhance flavor and increase the weight of the meat. Look on labels for “flavored with up to 10% of a solution” or references to chicken broth. The additional salt can be problematic for consumers with high blood pressure.


“Unless you puke, faint or die, keep going.” — American personal trainer Jillian Michaels

Medical History

This week in 1837, pharmacists John Lea and William Perrins of Worcester, England, began the manufacture of Worcester Sauce. Its origin was accidental. The 2 chemists were asked to make a sauce using a recipe that Lord Marcus Sandys, governor of Bengal, had brought from India. The result had a harsh, unpalatable taste. The batch was stored in their cellar, forgotten for a year, until a chance tasting found the sauce now tasty.

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 1994, the Ig Nobel Prize in entomology went to veterinarian Robert A. Lopez for obtaining ear mites from cats, inserting them in his own ear and carefully observing and analyzing the results: an ear infection and temporary hearing loss.

Sum Body

Seven actual medical terms. Look them up! Great for spelling bees.

No. 1: Dimethylamidophenyldimethylpyrazolone

No. 2: Esophagogastroduodenoscopy

No. 3: Hepaticocholangiocholecystenterostomies

No. 4: Oligoasthenoteratozoospermia

No. 5: Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty

No. 6: Pseudopseudohypoparathyroidism

No. 7: Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis

Last Words

“Let all brave Prussians follow me!” — Field Marshal Kurt Christoph Graf von Schwerin (1684-1757) at the Battle of Prague, immediately before being struck by a cannonball

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