Category:
Health

Too Much Of A Good Thing


You may have heard the warnings that people become more depressed in the winter months because of a lack of sunlight. Now researchers are saying that too much sunlight can be just as bad. The study shows that a lack of sleep is the real culprit. It all comes down to maintaining your circadian rhythm. You can read more about the sunlight issue here, and you can find out what a circadian rhythm is here.

Posted By: Nethie - Sat May 09, 2009 - Comments (4)
Category: Death, Health, Nature, Science, Sleep and Dreams

Follies of the Mad Men #66

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[From Look magazine for July 22 1958. Two scans, top and bottom.]

Sure, you've all heard of one of the most infamous Madison Avenue displays of ignorance ever, the "flesh-colored Band-aid." But how many of us have actually seen the offending ad?

Here is one instance from many in that racist campaign.

Posted By: Paul - Mon May 04, 2009 - Comments (6)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Health, Stereotypes and Cliches, Stupidity, 1950s

Paradoxical Undressing

Paradoxical undressing is a term for a phenomenon frequently seen in cases of lethal hypothermia. Shortly before death, the person will remove all their clothes, as if they were burning up, when in fact they are freezing. Because of this, people who have frozen to death are often found naked and are misidentified as victims of a violent crime.

Why does this happen? According to M.A. Rothschild and V. Schneider, writing in the International Journal of Legal Medicine:

The reason for this paradoxical behaviour seems to be the effect of a cold-induced paralysis of the nerves in the vessel walls, which leads to a vasodilatation, giving a feeling of warmth. Another theory proposes that the reflex vasoconstriction, which happens in the first stage of hypothermia leads to paralysis of the vasomotor center giving rise to the sensation that the body temperature is higher than it really is and in a paradox reaction the person undresses.

But wait! It gets even weirder. Once they've undressed, the dying person will frequently try to crawl into a small, enclosed space. For which reason, victims of hypothermia are often found naked, squeezed into cupboards or beneath beds. This is called Terminal Burrowing Behavior. Again from Rothschild and Schneider:

In 20% of our cases of death due to hypothermia the bodies were found in a position, which at first induced the suspicion of an attempt to hide the body. But after all our examinations together with the police investigations it was clear that no other person was involved. Obviously the strange positions in which the bodies had been found, were the result of a (pre-)terminal behaviour, which - for lack of comparable descriptions in the literature - we have called "terminal burrowing behaviour". The discovery positions always gave the impression of a protective burrow-like or cave-like situation, as the bodies were found under the bed, behind the wardrobe, in a shelf etc.. The clothes of the bodies were always strewn on the ground in front of the final position, sometimes forming a trail. In every case the paradoxical undressing had obviously happened before this self-protective "burrowing behaviour". This is sustained by the fact that the removed clothing was never found at the final position where the body was found, and some of the victims due to cooling had obviously been crawling around. In most cases the final position in which the bodies were found could only be reached by crawling on all fours or flat on the body, resulting in abrasions to the knees, elbows, etc. This crawling to the final position seems to have happened after undressing as there were abrasions to the skin but no damage to the corresponding parts of the removed clothing.

The body of a 91-year-old man was found beneath a bed in the corner of a shed.
The man had burrowed there.

Posted By: Alex - Tue Apr 14, 2009 - Comments (8)
Category: Death, Health, Psychology

Television-Related Disorders

Two television-related disorders reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Television Angina: Observed at a clinic for coronary diseases... This affected 20% of those patients with angina pectoris who watched television programs and was provoked by seeing violent incidents on the screen... commercials were innocuous, but Westerns and plays or films depicting violence or excitement often provoked anginal attacks. (JAMA, Apr 25, 1959)

Television Legs: Canada has discovered the syndrome of "TV legs," thereby demonstrating what should have been obvious, namely, that if a youngster habitually slumps in front of a TV screen for hours at a time, he will not end up as physically fit as his forefathers did. A physical fitness director in a thriving Toronto suburb surveyed 300 children in a day-long series of tests, and showed that 55% could not pass the minimum tests and 85% failed the maximum tests. The most common fault was a lack of flexibility in the legs and lower back, traceable to spending long hours sitting in front of TV sets... It is going to be difficult to find a set of controls who do not view TV and thus to assess the exact part played by this pastime in promoting ill-health. (JAMA, Apr 19, 1958)

Posted By: Alex - Thu Apr 02, 2009 - Comments (8)
Category: Exercise and Fitness, Health

Sick Human Detector

A Belgian company has filed a patent for an invention designed to detect sick travelers in airports. They call it a device for the "RECOGNITION AND LOCALISATION OF PATHOLOGIC ANIMAL AND HUMAN SOUNDS."

The idea is to place microphones around airports that will zero in on the sound of people coughing. The people hacking their lungs out can then be prevented from boarding a plane. A less controversial use of the technology is to detect sick pigs in pig pens.

Can people be stopped from traveling because they have a cold? I've never seen that done, but I'd like it (despite the inconvenience to the sick people) 'cause otherwise they infect everyone else on the plane. Though of course, if I were the one kicked off a plane I'd be seeing red. (via New Scientist)

Posted By: Alex - Tue Mar 17, 2009 - Comments (13)
Category: Health, Disease, Inventions, Travel

Will you get a tapeworm?

Maria Callas is probably the most famous person ever to have had a tapeworm. Find out what your chances are of getting a tapeworm. I have an 18% chance. (via The Presurfer)

Posted By: Alex - Fri Mar 06, 2009 - Comments (18)
Category: Health

Follies of the Mad Men #47

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[From Life magazine for September 30 1940.]

You know what your problem is? Not enough yeast. I suggest increasing your beer intake.

Posted By: Paul - Fri Nov 21, 2008 - Comments (1)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Food, Health, 1940s

Brain Worms

Brain worms can be contracted by eating undercooked pork, as well as by coming into contact with someone who has worm eggs in their body and who hasn't washed their hands.

But the good news about brain worms is that they're generally less dangerous than having a brain tumor. Which is why a Phoenix-area woman was relieved when her brain tumor turned out to be a brain worm. The reason I'm posting this on Weird Universe: because Fox 10 Chattanooga has a video of the worm being removed (still alive) from her brain.

Posted By: Alex - Thu Nov 20, 2008 - Comments (4)
Category: Health, Disease, Medicine

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Alex Boese
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction books such as Elephants on Acid.

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Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.

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