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Screenshot via Public Domain Review

1950s Advice For Curing a Cold Includes Jazz Radio and a Good Book

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Screenshot via Public Domain Review

Beware, germaphobes: this educational film from the 1950s will make you never want to leave the house again. Part of a series called “Health and Safety for You,” the 1955 short film “Sniffles and Sneezes” warns of the ease with which germs can be spread at school and at home. Sneezy Jane touches a doorknob shortly before Bob, who picks up her germs and transfers them to a book he’s sharing with Sue, who licks her finger to turn pages and passes them along on a pencil to Ann, who spreads them on the cutlery while setting the family dinner table. Yum.

The film serves up some practical advice for staying healthy that will sound familiar. Eat balanced meals, exercise, get a good night’s sleep, and wash your hands. The film’s advice for treatment after catching a cold is cautious: stay in bed—really, do not leave the confines of your bed—listen to some jazz on the radio, and read a book. Use disposable tissues instead of handkerchiefs, which in 1955 were still a socially accepted way of cleaning up your snot. Don’t chew on pencils, which is kind of gross regardless of your infection status.

Other advice borders on paranoia. “Never take bites of other people’s food,” the narrator commands. "Never drink out of someone else’s glass." Never!

Breathing germs on each other. Image Credit:Screenshot via Public Domain Review

These days, researchers can be a little more lackadaisical about cold-spreading germs. According to the Common Cold Centre at the University of Cardiff in the UK, "Despite the fact that very few of us escape from at least a couple of common cold infections each year, common cold viruses are not very contagious."

"Under laboratory conditions," the Common Cold Centre says, "when healthy volunteers are kept with others who are suffering from common cold infections it has proven remarkably difficult to spread infection from one person to another." While washing your hands seems to help stop the spread of the infection, there's only one real way to avoid colds altogether: “Become a hermit.”

The old film strip warns that what seems like a cold could actually be the beginnings of a more serious disease, like diphtheria, measles, or whooping cough, which just a decade ago would have seemed like outdated advice. Since the ‘50s, these diseases have largely been eradicated thanks to vaccines and herd immunity—but they’re all on the rise again thanks to anti-vaccination advocacy. Back to the ‘50s we go!

[h/t: Public Domain Review]

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Medicine
Why Haven't We Cured Cancer Yet?
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Walkathons, fundraisers, and ribbon-shaped bumper stickers raise research dollars and boost spirits, but cancer—the dreaded disease that affects more than 14 million people and their families at any given time—still remains bereft of a cure.

Why? For starters, cancer isn't just one disease—it's more than 100 of them, with different causes. This makes it impossible to treat each one using a one-size-fits-all method. Secondly, scientists use lab-grown cell lines cultivated from human tumors to develop cancer therapies. Living masses are far more complex, so potential treatments that show promise in lab experiments often don't work on cancer patients. As for the tumors themselves, they're prone to tiny genetic mutations, so just one growth might contain multiple types of cancer cells, and even unique sub-clones of tumors. These distinct entities might not respond the same way, or at all, to the same drug.

These are just a few of the challenges that cancer researchers face—but the good news is that they're working to beat all of them, as this TED-Ed video explains below.

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Health
Skipping Breakfast Could Be Bad for Your Heart
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There are mountains of evidence supporting the claim that breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. Getting something in your stomach in the first hours of the morning can regulate your glucose levels, improve your cognition, and keep your hunger in check. Now new research published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology points to another reason not to wait until lunchtime to break last night’s fast. As TIME reports, people who skip breakfast are at an increased risk for atherosclerosis, a disease caused by plaque buildup in the arteries.

Researchers surveyed over 4000 men and women between the ages of 40 and 54 living in Spain. After looking at the dietary habits of each participant, they broke them into three groups: people who consumed more than 20 percent of their daily calories in the morning; those who got 5 to 20 percent; and those who ate less than 5 percent.

The subjects who ate very little in the a.m. hours or skipped breakfast all together were 2.5 more likely to have generalized atherosclerosis. This meant that plaque was starting to collect on the walls of their arteries, hardening and narrowing them and increasing the risk for heart attack or stroke. People who fell into the 5 to 20 percent calorie category were also more likely to show early signs of the disease, while those who ate the most calories in the morning were the healthiest.

These results aren’t entirely surprising. Previous studies have shown a connection between skipping breakfast and health problems like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and unwanted weight gain. A possible explanation for this trend could be that waiting several hours after waking up to eat your first meal of the day could trigger hormonal imbalances. The time between getting into and out of bed is the longest most of us go without eating, and our bodies expect us to consume some calories to help kickstart our energy for the day (drinking straight coffee doesn’t cut it). Another theory is that people who don’t eat in the morning are so hungry by the time lunch rolls around that they overcompensate for those missing calories, which is why skipping breakfast doesn’t make sense as a diet strategy.

But of course there are many breakfast skippers who aren’t motivated by health reasons either way: They just don’t think they have the time or energy to feed themselves in the morning before walking out the door. If this describes you, here are some simple, protein-packed meals you can prepare the night before.

[h/t TIME]

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