Livin' on the MDedge

Netflix addiction, COPD blues, waistline-busting memes


The hottest new drug? Netflix


We all knew this was coming eventually. The first case of “Netflix addiction” has emerged, as a 26-year-old man in India has reportedly sought help at an addiction treatment center in Bangalore. Symptoms included 7-10 hours of TV watching per day and increasing isolation from others. Honestly, sounds like an ideal weekend. A clinical psychology professor at the treatment center warns that this instance is very similar to cases where patients are addicted to video games or social media, wherein the virtual world takes precedence over the real one. No reports yet about exactly what he was bingeing on, but our money’s on “The Great British Baking Show.” And can you blame him? The things they make on that show! This is the first case of Netflix addiction but undoubtedly will not be the last. It’s just so easy to watch 19 episodes of “Law & Order” in a row! I’m not an addict, I’m just a dedicated fan. Please don’t take my computer away from me.

Losin’ the COPD blues

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The pursuit of improved therapies for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease has produced a wealth of treatment options. But one new approach sounds better than them all. In a pilot study, an inexpensive, handheld device improved breathing control and self-confidence in people with COPD. And it boosted their quality of life. In fact, 3 months of use for only about a half hour a day most days of the week improved several pulmonary outcome measures, including maximal inspiratory pressure, maximal expiratory pressure, and distance on the 6-minute walk test. The 14 patients, all ex-smokers, even posted significant improvements in performance of “Happy Birthday,” “You Are My Sunshine,” and the respiratorily challenging Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire.” Technically called a “free reed wind instrument,” the pulmonary rehab device is also known as a “harmonica.” Can a mouth organ really counter emphysema? Well, neither of the two hard-blowing blues harmonica legends named Sonny Boy Williamson succumbed to COPD.

This is why you’re fat

Terry Rudd/MDedge News

Apparently, the real reason for rising levels of obesity is not sugar or lack of exercise – it’s memes. Researchers from England’s Loughborough University sent a memo to Parliament displaying evidence that Internet memes are contributing to unhealthy eating habits and sending damaging messages to today’s Internet-loving youth. Researchers blamed such memes as a picture of an obese child with the words “Free food? Count me in!” and a series of toned bodies next to a body made of hot dogs and pizza captioned “me.” Clearly, researchers have never experienced the pure joy of eating too much pizza and truly feeling like you are one with the pie. The report didn’t mention whether more-fit countries meme less or just work out more. We’re inclined to believe a healthy lifestyle includes eating in moderation, staying fit, and meme-ing to your heart’s content.

Mad for vittles

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You may not think you need to warn patients about eating rodent brains, but a Rochester, N.Y., man landed in a local hospital after his cognitive abilities took a plunge and his grip on everyday reality had loosened considerably. He’d also misplaced the ability to ambulate on his own. An MRI of his brain revealed a strange, tragic condition: The images bore a striking similarity to the brains of victims suffering from variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, the prion-fueled fatal brain condition known more colloquially as “mad cow disease.” Yet most of the few hundred cases ever encountered were the result of eating bad beef in the United Kingdom more than a quarter century ago. How did this Empire State citizen succumb to a notorious English affliction? The culprits: squirrels. Seems the victim was an avid hunter who’d enjoyed his share of bushy-tailed acorn eaters, and who’d on occasion ensured that no part of his twitchy prey had gone to culinary waste. Including their brains.

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