To your health

  • Superkid. One of the best lead sentences ever:

    Somewhere in Germany is a baby Superman, born in Berlin with bulging arm and leg muscles.”

    So crazy you know it’s true, the article is a neat trip through the land of genetic mutations an internet-only bodybuilder supplements. (AP: “Doctors discover a toddler muscle man” by Linda A. Johnson [June 23, 2004]; originally via diepunyhumans)

  • Echinacea… The debate rages on. A study by the Marshfield Clinic seems to indicate that echinacea might not help reduce the duration of the common cold. Which is fine and good, except that I’d always thought it was intended as a preventative—as something to strengthen the immune system so as to reduce the occurrence of colds—not something to cut the duration of already-acquired colds. Of course, there are numerous questions to be raised about herbal supplements like echinacea, most of them having something to do with the lack of standardization (there’s nothing like government-mandated quality control) and the fact that no one is quite sure which part of the plants (or which plants, what with there being different kinds of echinacea). Maybe time will tell, and maybe it won’t. (Marshfield Clinic / EurekAlert: “Echinacea may have no benefit in treating common cold” [June 21, 2004])
  • “Cough” Medicine? Okay, so maybe you knew that herbal remedies weren’t necessarily the panacea some people think they are; but what about cough medicine? The results of a study by researchers at the Penn State Children’s Hospital were that “[n]ight-time cough and sleep quality were no better with cough mixtures than with a simple, non-medicated syrup.(BBC: “Cough medicines ‘have no benefit'” [July 6, 2004])