Two Tragic Stories of Death From Overwork

Moritz Erhardt, a 21-year-old intern at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in London, died recently as he neared the end of a seven-week summer internship. He'd been working a grueling schedule in an investment bank division that was "notorious for the hours workers are expected to clock in," writes Ruth Margalit of The New Yorker. Friends said Erhardt had been keeping enormously long hours -- working all the way to 6 a.m. three days in a row shortly before he collapsed in his shower -- leading to ... (read more)

Coroner: Andrew Breitbart Died of Heart Failure

Conservative media activist Andrew Breitbart died March 1 of "heart failure and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy with focal coronary atherosclerosis," the Los Angeles Coroner's Office revealed Friday afternoon. "No prescription or illicit drugs were detected," the office announced in a press release. Breitbart had spent two hours that evening at the Brentwood Restaurant in LA's Brentwood district and had drunk some alcohol but "he wasn't drinking excessively," Arthur Sando, a marketing executive ... (read more)

Longevity, Health and Charlie Sheen

Last night's episode of Two and a Half Men ended with this end-of-show text from series creator Chuck Lorre, who puts vanity cards at the end of his shows that only can be read by pausing the TV: I exercise regularly. I eat moderate amounts of healthy food. I make sure to get plenty of rest. I see my doctor once a year and my dentist twice a year. I floss every night. I've had chest x-rays, cardio stress tests EKGs and colonoscopies. I see a psychologist and have a variety of hobbies to reduce ... (read more)

Photographer Makes Weighty Request

Philip Greenspun, an MIT computer science teacher who founded the photographic community Photo.Net, has posted an unusual request on his weblog: I'd like to get some pictures of fat people eating (example1; example2). I'm in Orlando and it seems like an ideal opportunity to combine two quintessentially American themes: obesity and theme parks. Also, a theme park is a great place to walk around with a big camera and lens without attracting attention. I would like to find a theme park where there ... (read more)

CDC Official: Vaccine Distribution Remains 'Bumpy'

The shortage of H1N1 swine flu vaccine in some parts of the country continues to be a concern of the federal government's vaccination authorities, immunologist Anne Schuchat said this afternoon during a briefing for bloggers on the pandemic. "This has really been bumpy," Schuchat said as she fielded questions from California and other places where supplies of the vaccine has been extremely difficult for people to find. "As of today, 58.9 million doses of H1N1 vaccine have become available for ... (read more)

Pancakes and Sausage on a Stick!

I wish I could've been present at the meeting where they came up with Pancakes and Sausage on a Stick, a frozen microwaveable foodlike product that's also a great euphemism to yell when expressing vexation. The next time I hammer my thumb or your team beats my team in a sporting event -- a possibility which is, of course, unlikely -- I will exclaim "Pancakes and Sausage on a Stick!" instead of "Jesus Christ on a Pogo Stick!" The Chocolate Chip flavor of Pancakes and Sausage on a Stick weighs ... (read more)

Magicians with Syphillis Need Not Apply

The estate of science fiction and film collector Forrest J. Ackerman is being auctioned off this week by LiveAuctioneers.Com, and among the items up for bid tomorrow is a 1926 membership card from the Society of American Magicians signed by Harry Houdini, the president of the organization. The group offered the following "hospital benefit": If a MEMBER IN GOOD STANDING is compelled to undergo hospital treatment as a result of accident or disease (other than venereal or chronic and ... (read more)

Virology Blog Offers Level-Headed Take on Swine Flu

If you're looking for solid information on swine flu from sources who haven't lapsed into hysterics, Professor Vincent Racaniello of Columbia University Medical Center, who has studied viruses for 30 years, publishes an excellent Virology Blog that's heavy on facts and short on panic. Racaniello believes the flu will stop spreading soon in the U.S. for the same reason that ordinary seasonal flus fade every year around this time, but it could come back stronger in the fall: Flu season is ... (read more)

But Never Sip From That Cup Again

Today's healthy living tip from Primate Brow Flash: Matt turned me on to a use for old sippy-cups. They work perfectly as Neti Pots! Fill with warm salt water (1/4 teaspoon salt to 1 cup warm water), lean over a sink, tip your head sideways and jam the nozzle of the sippy cup into the higher nostril and pour. You will feel the salt water fill your nasal passages and then it will fall out of your other nostril. It left me with feeling of cleanliness in an entirely new place. ... Note. If water ... (read more)

Dealing with a Newborn's Group B Strep Diagnosis

My three-day-old newborn niece has been battling a bacterial infection since she was 12 hours old. They confirmed a preliminary diagnosis of Group B Strep yesterday and have her in the hospital's neonatal ICU while she's treated with the antibiotic Penicillin G. She's had some setbacks, but the last 24 hours have gone well. As you can imagine, we're fishing for information on what can be done to help her beat the infection and fully recover. I've found a Group B Strep mailing list on Yahoo, but ... (read more)