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WELL NEWS: Historic ailments had some wacky names

by SCOTT LAFEE Creators Syndicate | August 5, 2019 at 2:30 a.m.

Indoor swimming is an exercise you could try ... if you wanted to. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/CELIA STOREY)

Diseases and ailments change names over centuries, even if their symptoms do not. Can you pick the once-upon-a-time name for each of these?

1. Syphilis

a) Venereal Valentine; b) Cupid's Disease; c) The Bumps of Eros

2. Dysentery

a) Bloody Flux; b) Dropsy; c) The Devil's Stool

3. Tuberculosis

a) Dysfunction; b) Scrumption; c) Consumption

4. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

a) Gaspings; b) Winde; c) Snorts

5. Writer's cramp

a) Hack's Ache; b) Poet's Pangs; c) Scrivener's Palsy

6. Edema

a) Dropsy; b) Stopsy; c) Mopsy

7. Lead poisoning

a) Dirty Rumbles; b) Dry Bellyache; c) Silversmith's Disease

See answers below.


Epistaxis: A nosebleed. A pseudoepistaxis appears to be a normal nosebleed, but the blood is not actually originating from the nasal cavity; it is simply passing through and exiting from the nose.

Obdormition: A sensation of numbness in one or both legs when standing up after sitting cross-legged for a period of time.

Onychophagia: Nail biting.


Statistically speaking, 9 out of 10 injections are in vein.


Q: What percentage of saliva is water?

A: 99%

The remaining 1% consists of electrolytes and organic substances, such as digestive enzymes, uric acid, cholesterol and mucins (proteins that form mucus).


There are thousands of exercises, and you've only got one body, but that doesn't mean you can't try them all.

Indoor air swimming — lie on your stomach with your arms extended overhead by your ears. Lift your chest, arms and legs off the floor and squeeze your glutes. Flutter your arms and legs up and down while still keeping them off the floor.

Inhale for four seconds, and then exhale for four; repeat both again for a total of 16 seconds. Do three sets, resting up to one minute between each set.

Air swimming strengthens the postural muscles, particularly the backside of your body, which helps prevent back pain.


Pentheraphobia: Irrational fear of your mother-in-law


In Los Angeles, a 33-year-old man and his brother decided to remove a beehive from a shed on their property using an illegal firecracker equivalent to a half-stick of dynamite. They ignited the fuse and retreated inside their home to watch the blast from a window 10 feet from the hive.

The concussion of the explosion shattered the window, seriously lacerating the 33-year-old man, whose brother determined he needed immediate medical care at a nearby hospital. While walking to their car, the wounded man was stung three times by bees that had survived the blast.

Unknown to either man, the injured brother was allergic to bee venom and died of suffocation en route to the hospital.


A new study of popular do-it-yourself sunscreens (usually including ingredients such as lavender, shea butter, coconut oil and carrot oil) found that, as tasty as they sound, they don't offer much in the way of sun protection.

Despite claims of up to 50 SPF, the highest level researchers could confirm after evaluating 189 sunscreen recipes was 1 to 7 SPF.


Answers to the quiz above are: 1. b 2. a 3. c 4. b 5. c 6. a 7. b


"She is squeezing my hand!" These were the last words of inventor and futurist Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983). Leading up to his death, Fuller's wife had been lying comatose in a Los Angeles hospital, dying of cancer. While visiting her, he made the above exclamation, then stood up, suffered a heart attack and died an hour later.

His wife died 36 hours later.

Syndicated science writer Scott LaFee's column of health-related humor appears occasionally in Style.

Style on 08/05/2019

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