…when you go to the doctors office, you expect it to be relatively germ-free. But if you fill out paperwork when you arrive, you’re using something with 46,000 times more germs than the average toilet seat—a shared pen.


Medical Notes this week…

Domestic abuse creates a much higher risk of death for women who’ve experienced it… and not just due to the abuse itself. A study in the journal of the American Heart Association finds that women who’ve experienced physical, psychological, sexual, financial and emotional abuse are 44 percent more likely to die of any cause compared to the general population. Their risk of heart disease is 31 percent higher… and their risk of type two diabetes is 51 percent higher. 

When you go to the doctor, one of the things that usually happens first is a measurement of your pulse. Doctors look for a normal resting heart rate of around 70. But it turns out there’s no such thing as a “normal” resting heart rate. A study in the journal P-L-O-S One shows that the pulse can vary wildly between people. In some, “normal” is as low as 40 beats per minute and in others, as high as 109. What’s important, researchers say, is how much your heart rate varies over time… Not how it compares to other people. 

Can being tall protect men from dementia? Could be a study in the journal E-life measured the height of men in their late teens and early 20’s starting in 1959… Then tracked their development of dementia over the years. Researchers conclude that the risk of dementia later on drops by about 10 percent for every two-and-a-half inches above average height. The relationship exists between shorter and taller brothers… and even shorter and taller twins. 

And finally… if you make a lot of typos when you text… your thumbs may be too long. A study from the University of Copenhagen finds that big hands or thick fingers are not to blame for most typing errors on smartphones. It’s the length of the thumbs. Researchers say longer-than-average thumbs alone cause 12 percent of typos… and the bigger the phone, the worse it gets. 

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