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Friday, December 14 , 2018, 5:40 am | Fair 50º

Your Health
A Noozhawk partnership with Cottage Health

Scott LaFee: Taking Aspirin with a Grain of Salt

A new large study suggests that a daily dose of aspirin does not lower risk of having a heart attack or stroke for the first time. A randomized trial of more than 12,500 people considered to be at moderate risk for cardiovascular disease found that the rate of heart problems didn’t differ between those who took a preventive aspirin pill daily and those who took a placebo.

On the other hand, other studies have shown that aspirin appears to lower risk of a second heart attack or stroke.

One note: The study was funded by Bayer, which makes aspirin.

Body of Knowledge

The average number of times to urinate per day is between six and seven in a 24-hour period. But anywhere between four and 10 is considered normal if the person is healthy and happy with the frequency.

Normal defecation rates are even more widely variable, with the vast majority of adults defecating between three times per day and three times per week, with bowel patterns usually well established.


66: percentage of American adolescents ages 13 to 17 who in 2017 received their first dose of the vaccine series for human papillomaviruses, which are associated with a number of cancers

49: percentage of the above group who completed the vaccination series

30,000: estimated number of HPV-associated cancer cases in 1999

43,000: estimated number in 2015

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Doc Talk

Obdormition: the numb feeling that you awake to when you’ve slept on your arm wrong, followed by paresthesia, the prickling, tingling (pins and needles) sensation. The former is caused by sustained pressure on a nerve, inhibiting function; the latter by the nerve’s recovery when the pressure is gone.

Mania of the Week

Tomomania: irrational predilection for performing surgery (and who hasn’t wanted to cut to the chase?)

Number Cruncher

A tall Starbucks eggnog latte, no whipped cream, with nonfat milk (340 grams) contains 350 calories, 135 from fat. It has 15 grams of total fat, or 23 percent of the recommended total fat intake for a 2,000-calorie daily diet, according to the Calorie Count database.

It also contains 105 milligrams of cholesterol (35 percent); 42 grams of total carbohydrates (14 percent) and 39 grams of sugar. On the plus side, it appears to be sodium-free.

Never Say ‘Diet’

The Major League Eating record for jellied cranberry sauce is 13.23 pounds in 8 minutes, held by Juliet Lee. (Thanksgiving is looming, but there’s still time to work on your game.)

Best Medicine

Four little-known food “facts” about calories during the upcoming holidays:

» If you eat something and no one sees you eat it, it has no calories.

» When you eat with someone else, your calories don’t count if the other person eats more than you.

» Cookie pieces contain no calories because the breaking process causes calorie leakage.

» Foods of the same color have the same calorie count, e.g., spinach and pistachio ice cream or mushrooms and mashed potatoes.


“I went on a diet, swore off drinking and heavy eating, and in 14 days, I lost two weeks.” — Comedian Joe E. Lewis (1902-1971)

Medical History

This week in 2013, the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, began open enrollment for individuals and families. According to White House estimates at the time, more than 8 million people signed up for private insurance in the Health Insurance Marketplace and millions more in health plans that met ACA standards or in expanded Medicaid coverage.

Last year, The New York Times reported that almost 20 million Americans had gained health insurance since 2010.


Q: What does your philtrum do?

A: Nothing. The philtrum, also known as the medial cleft, is the vertical groove in the middle area of the upper lip. In some animals, it may improve the sense of smell by keeping the area around the nose wet, but in humans it has no apparent function.

There is some speculation that as early humans came to rely on vision more than other senses, the philtrum lost its functionality and now is simply an evolutionary leftover.

Last Words

“Waiting are they? Waiting are they? Well, let ’em wait.” — American Revolutionary War Gen. Ethan Allen (1737-1789) in response to an attending doctor who attempted to comfort him by saying, “General, I fear the angels are waiting for you.”

Scott LaFee is a staff writer at UC San Diego Health and the former chief science writer at The San Diego Union-Tribune, where he covered science, medicine and technology. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Special Reports

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<p>Lizette Correa shares a moment with her 9-month-old daughter, Layla, outside their Goleta home. Correa is about to graduate from Project Recovery, a program of the Santa Barbara Council on Alcoholism & Drug Abuse, and is determined to overcome her heroin addiction — for herself and for her daughter. “I look at her and I think ‘I need to be here for her and I need to show her an example, I don’t want her to see me and learn about drugs’,” she says.</p>

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Santa Barbara County sounds alarm as opiate drug use escalates, spreads into mainstream population
Safety Net Series
<p>Charles Condelos, a retired banker, regularly goes to the Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics for his primary care and to renew his prescription for back pain medication. He says Dr. Charles Fenzi, who was treating him that day at the Westside Clinic, and Dr. Susan Lawton are some of the best people he’s ever met.</p>

Safety Net: Patchwork of Clinics Struggles to Keep Santa Barbara County Healthy

Clinics that take all comers a lifeline for low-income patients, with new health-care law about to feed even more into overburdened system. First in a series
Prescription for Abuse
<p>American Medical Response emergency medical technicians arrive at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital with little time to spare for victims of prescription drug overdoses.</p>

Quiet Epidemic of Prescription Drug Abuse Taking a Toll on Santa Barbara County

Evidence of addiction shows an alarming escalation, Noozhawk finds in Prescription for Abuse special report
Mental Health
<p>Rich Detty and his late wife knew something was wrong with their son, Cliff, but were repeatedly stymied in their attempts to get him help from the mental health system. Cliff Detty, 46, died in April while in restraints at Santa Barbara County’s Psychiatric Health Facility.</p>

While Son Struggled with Mental Illness, Father Fought His Own Battle

Cliff Detty's death reveals scope, limitations of seemingly impenetrable mental health system. First in a series