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Mr. Yuk

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I have fond memories of Mr. Yuk from my childhood. My parents placed the green-yucky-face stickers on various items under the kitchen sink, and sure enough, I never drank drain cleaner. But where did Mr. Yuk come from?

According to Wikipedia, Mr. Yuk is from Pittsburgh, and was introduced in 1971. Prior to 1971, poison symbols were commonly of the skull-and-crossbones variety, but there was concern that children might associate that "jolly roger" symbol with pirates. This article further explains that in the early 70's, the skull-and-crossbones was also the logo for the Pittsburgh Pirates, so I can see how kids might not associate it with something they should NOT touch. The poison center at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh designed the Mr. Yuk logo and distributed the stickers (which also typically contain a phone number to reach a local or national poison control hotline -- for the record, the national number is 1-800-222-1222), and at least in my experience, these stickers were widespread as late as the mid-1980's.

Much more -- including freaky 70's videos -- after the jump.

Several studies have attempted to measure the effectiveness of Mr. Yuk. Unfortunately, the studies indicate that Mr. Yuk is not very effective at preventing children from handling Yuk-labeled bottles -- one indicated that children actually handled the Yuk-labeled bottles more, possibly because of the cartoonish appearance of the sticker. The other showed no significant difference between Yuk-labeled and non-labeled bottles. Well, that's a bummer. It's unclear from the study summaries whether education for the kids (explaining not to touch things labeled with Mr. Yuk) would have affected the outcome.

One thing I missed as a kid was this Mr. Yuk Public Service Announcement (slash spooky drug trip) from 1971. Prepare to be freaked out:

For Mr. Yuk superfans, here's the extended version of the song from the PSA above (you can also download an MP3):

You can get a free sheet of Mr. Yuk stickers from the Mr. Yuk page (warning: plays a brief theme song!) at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. You can also order Lance Armstrong-style green "poison help" wristbands. Um. "Yuk."

A question for current parents of young kids: is Mr. Yuk on any items in your house?

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8 Potential Signs of a Panic Attack
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It's not just fear or worry. In fact, many panic attacks don’t look like panic at all. Panic attacks come on rapidly, and often at times that don't seem to make sense. The symptoms of panic disorder vary from person to person and even from attack to attack for the same person. The problems listed below are not unique to panic attacks, but if you're experiencing more than one, it's a good idea to talk to your doctor either way.


Doctors sometimes call the autonomic nervous system (ANS) the "automatic nervous system" because it regulates many vital bodily functions like pumping blood all on its own, without our having to think about it. Panic attacks often manifest through the ANS, leading to increased heart rate or decreased blood pressure, which can in turn lead to feeling lightheaded or faint.


Feeling detached from yourself is called depersonalization. Feeling detached from the world, or like it's fake or somehow unreal, is called derealization. Both forms of dissociation are unsettling but common signs that a panic attack has begun.


Our digestive system is often the first body part to realize that something is wrong. Panic sends stress hormones and tension to the gut and disrupts digestion, causing nausea, upset stomach, or heartburn.


Panic attacks can manifest in truly surprising ways, including pins and needles or numbness in a person's hands or face.


The symptoms of a panic attack can look a lot like the flu. But if you don't have a fever and no one else has chattering teeth, it might be your ANS in distress.


While it may sound prophetic or at least bizarre, a sense of impending doom is a very common symptom of panic attacks (and several other conditions). 


The ANS strikes again. In addition to the well-known problems of hyperventilation or shortness of breath, panic attacks can also cause dyspnea, in which a person feels like they can't fill their lungs, and feelings of choking or being smothered.


Oddly enough, anxiety about anxiety is itself a symptom of anxiety and panic attacks. Fear of losing control or getting upset can cause people to avoid situations that could be triggering, which can in turn limit their lives. 

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Live Smarter
You Can Be a "Nonresponder" to Some Types of Exercise
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If you’re working out but don’t feel like you’re in any better shape, you might be a “nonresponder.” A study from Queen’s University in Canada finds that how people respond to exercise regimens varies substantially, and what works for one person may not help another person improve at all.

But that doesn’t mean those nonresponders will never get into shape. They just may need to change up their exercise routine for one that is better suited to their body. The study tested two exercise regimes on 21 active adults. Each of them spent three weeks doing endurance training (like running for an extended period of time) or interval training (doing quick bursts of strenuous exercise, like in CrossFit). After a few months of rest between workout periods, they then switched one routine for the other. Endurance trainees rode a stationary bike four times a week for 30 minutes, while high-intensity interval trainees did 20 seconds of hard pedaling on the bike with a 10 second rest after each interval.

Some of the participants showed improvements in physiological markers of fitness like heart rate and oxygen capacity after one of the workout periods, but others didn’t improve at all. Some were even in worse shape than before they began their assigned regimen. However, each individual responded to one of the workouts, even if they didn’t see results in the other.

To figure out which workout works for you, you’ll need to measure your fitness levels, using your pulse as your baseline number, at the beginning of a new workout routine. Then, after a month of either endurance or interval training, you should check to see if you've made improvements in your heart rate, according to the Times. If you haven't, you should switch to another routine.

[h/t The New York Times]


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