Monday, February 18News That Matters

Medicine Goes to the Dogs, Precisely, by Scott LaFee – Creators Syndicate

Precision or personalized medicine is the mantra these days. It’s the idea that medical science can use tools like genetic sequencing to better understand your specific ailment and how best to treat it.

What’s good for man is apparently good for his best friend, too. A new company in California’s Silicon Valley is touting targeted therapies for our canine buddies. For a price tag in the low four figures, it will sequence a dog’s tumor and generate a list of recommended treatments for owners’ veterinarians.

Cancer is a major health issue in dogs. Roughly half of all dogs over the age of 10 develop cancer at some point in their lives, often skin, lymph node or breast malignancies. Traditional cancer care for dogs is not inexpensive, ranging from $150 to $600 per dose of chemotherapy and $1,000 to $6,000 per radiation treatment, according to the Veterinary Cancer Society.

Precision medicine is still relatively rare among human patients, with roughly 12 percent of persons with advanced cancer receiving next-generation sequencing. More than 60 percent of advanced cancer patients receive no genomic testing at all, reports STAT.

Body of Knowledge

The average breath takes five seconds: two to inhale, three to exhale.

Doc Talk

Anhidrosis: The abnormal absence of sweat

Phobia of the Week

Agyrophobia: Fear of streets or of crossing the street

Life in Big Macs

One hour of sitting or singing in church burns 102 calories (based on a 150-pound person), the equivalent of 0.1 Big Macs. Squirming burns more.

Never Say “Diet”

The Major League Eating record for baked beans is 6 pounds in 1 minute and 48 seconds, held by Don Lerman, who no doubt won with an explosive finish.

Best Medicine

Insomniac: “I’ve tried everything. Nothing works.”

Well-rested friend: “I’m sorry to hear that. Sleep just comes naturally to me. I could do it with my eyes closed.”


“Neurotic means he is not as sensible as I am, and psychotic means he’s even worse than my brother-in-law.” — American psychiatrist Karl Menninger (1893-1990)

Medical History

This week in 1951, the longest operation in medical history occurred. It involved removing a huge ovarian cyst from Gertrude Levandowski, 58, of Burnips, Michigan. Over a period of 10 years, Levandowski had increased in weight to 616 pounds, with a 9-foot circumference. The ovarian cyst eventually pressed against her heart. Doctors tapped the cyst, draining fluid at a rate of 120 drops per minute to slowly reduce pressure on her heart. Approximately 200 pounds of fluid were drained over four days, and the remaining 100-pound cyst, the size of a bushel basket, was then removed. After the operation, Levandowski weighed 308 pounds.


Q: Which finger is most sensitive?

A: The index finger, though people tend to be more sensitive about the middle finger.

Last Words

“Now why did I do that?” — English Major-General William Erskine (1770-1813) after jumping from the window of a tall building in Lisbon, Portugal

To find out more about Scott LaFee and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

Photo credit: at Pixabay

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