Daily Archives: February 22, 2007

Open Thread: Medical “Facts”

Okay, the only reason I haven’t vomited all over my own feet today is that I’ve only drunk water since I woke up. Which is to say, I’m sick and I’m going to go lie down. You’re going to have to get along without me today. Here, have an open thread.

To get you started, a topic: Relate interesting medical-related “facts.” As with this previous thread on “facts,” the word “facts” is in quotes for a reason.

Here’s three from me:

1. The 17th century Flemish believed that crocodile teeth would cure gout and syphilis when ground into a poultice with chicken fat and cow dung, but abandoned the practice when it was determined that the poultice invariably cured the wrong disease of the two in any particular patient.

2. American President Martin Van Buren (1782 – 1862) was afflicted with “pica,” a disorder which causes a person to consume non-food objects such as rocks or coins. Van Buren’s nickname “The Little Magician” is rooted in the fact that coins in his vicinity would disappear down his gullet if others did not keep a close eye on them.

3. Recent medical studies at the University of Kentucky suggest that Americans in the southern states have the highest rates of flatulence, breaking wind 1.3 times as often as midwesterners, the second most flatulent group, and 2.1 times as much as the least flatulent Americans, who reside in the Pacific northwest. However, Pacific northwesterners rank at the top for smelliest flatulence, which may relate to a high incidence of vegetarianism and veganism in the area, relative to other regions in the country.

Now. Your “facts,” please.