Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

Health

The Best Stuff We've Read This Week

 The Best Stuff We've Read This Week

Every week, Chuck and Josh read tons of articles. Here are links to the best of the bunch. See more »

 The Carter Center Rocks My World

Hey folks. About once a month we have guests come by and speak to the editorial staff about their line of work. It's called the "staff enrichment lecture series," and was started by Fan Stuff's Tracy Wilson. We've had professionals come by that work in zoos, museums, aquariums, elder care facilities and the like. It's actually very enriching and we're lucky our company cares about this kind of thing. Today, our speaker was a woman named Kelly Callahan. She works as an Assistant Director of Program Support for from The Carter Center here in Atlanta. Her focus is in the department of health programs. In short, Ms. Callahan helps to institute health programs in some of the poorest places on Earth, mainly in Africa. Much of her work over the past decade was spent helping to nearly eradicate Guinea Worm Disease. Josh and I spoke about this awful disease in our parasites podcast and let me just say that it ain't pretty. See more »

 Beach Sand Bugs Make You Poop

Thank you, American Journal of Epidemiology, for alerting the world to the dangers of bugs burrowed in the sand of beaches we love. That's just what we needed -- something else to worry about. A study published in said journal found that digging in the sand raised your child's chances of having diarrhea by a whopping 44 percent. Kids under eleven who are buried in the sand have a 27 percent chance of some loose stools. They surveyed 27,000 people over a four year period to obtain the results. After folks went to the beach, the recorded their activity and then received follow up calls several weeks later for a series of health questions - presumably starting with, "does your child have diarrhea?" See more »

 Have a Heart -- If You Can Find It

So this slightly disturbing survey came out yesterday on CNN.com. The medical journal "BMC Family Practice" surveyed 722 Britons (people from England) about where various body organs where located. The participants were shown four body diagrams with the organs depicted in varying sizes and locations in the body. They were then asked to choose which one was correct, organ by organ. Turns out only 46.5 percent could pinpoint the correct size and location of the heart. That would be the human heart. Not only that, but only 31 percent could identify the lungs, 39 percent found the stomach and 32 percent for hit the kidneys. What's more, 589 of these folks were outpatients in a hospital. The same survey was performed in 1970 and researchers today expected better results thanks to the dawn of the information age. Unfortunately the results were about the same, despite the wonders of the Internet. See more »

 We're All Going to Die Someday -- Because of Our Radioactive Toasters

If one is so inclined, one may look around and find all manner of everyday threats to our health. There is bisphenol-A (BPA) in plastic water bottles (a recent Harvard study found that people drinking from these bottles for a week showed an increase in BPA in their urine by as much as 69 percent). The food we eat will definitely kill us. A survey of national chain restaurants in the U.S. found that slow-food places like Applebee's or T.G.I. Friday's are the unhealthiest, so much so that fast-food places didn't even register in the top 10. (The Cheesecake Factory's Chicken and Biscuits entree, for example, has about 2,500 calories -- the same as an eight-piece bucket and five biscuits at Kentucky Fried Chicken.) Plus, there are plenty of buses. If you weren't a trembling blob of death-fearing jelly already, here's some more bad news. See more »

 Swine Flu Causes Gas Prices to Drop?

The word is officially out on the swine flu and the danger it could potentially cause the human race. Our science bloggers Robert and Allison have done a nice job covering the issue so far here and here so I won't cover those details here. However, I came across this article on Marketwatch today that was kind of interesting. Seems that the swine flu scare has caused oil prices to drop some and has actually boosted the American dollar a bit. The price of oil fell about five percent this morning, settling in at $48.77 per barrell. As concerns of a pandemic spread, risky assets like stocks tend to go down. It turns out that oil traders take the stock market performance as a cue for overall economy, which is why oil prices tend to rise and fall with what's happening on Wall St. See more »