Weekend reads: The germs that live in a man's beard

Interesting studies and stories from the past week

The Daily Briefing editorial team highlights several interesting health care stories and studies that didn't quite make this week's Briefing. What are you reading this weekend? Let us know in the comments.

Juliette Mullin' reads

You may want to rethink your beard. Action 7 News in Albuquerque, New Mexico, tested the beards of handful of local men, asking Quest Diagnostics to identify the bacteria hiding in the facial hair. Although several of the men's beards contained normal bacteria, some had bacteria you would expect to find in a toilet. The bacteria probably wouldn't make you sick, but "there would be a degree of uncleanliness that would be somewhat disturbing," says Quest microbiologist John Golobic.

Music as medicine? The Atlantic this week has an interesting profile of the Sync Project, which is trying to figure out how music can be used as medicine. For instance, could you a music service held you find the right music to feel less stressed? "We thought it was probably [an] opportune moment to say, 'Let's take everything we know and understand about music, take everything we're learning and understanding and [that] now can be tracked in real-time in human physiology, and figure out what's going on,'" says CEO and co-founder Alexis Kopikis.

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Dan Diamond's reads

3D printing lets a blind mom-to-be 'see' her son. I think the pictures here say it all.

Concussions give teenager total amnesia—although he remembers how to play baseball. I've written and read a lot about traumatic brain injuries, and while memory problems are common, the story about this 17-year-old who needed to "relearn life" is quite unusual.

Grey's Anatomy's most bizarre cases, analyzed and ranked. While I haven't watched this show in years, I know it's still prominent—and still influencing how average Americans think about health care. That's why I enjoyed this quick review of the show's wackiest cases, and whether they're medically feasible.

Fitbit has a problem. And it isn't Apple Watch. The company just announced its plans for a $100 million IPO, and is on pace to have more than $1 billion in revenue this year. So what's the issue? Fitbit's high drop-out rate and the low level of evidence that wearables do anything to improve health. I dug into this for Forbes.

Clare Rizer's reads

The best (and loudest) way to wake up? A new report from CDC finds that the highest percentage of U.S. births occur between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and noon, while just 3% of babies are born each hour between midnight and 6:59 a.m. The report also noted that fewer births happen during weekend days, but those that do tend to occur between 11:00 p.m. and 5:59 a.m. The most likely reason? Those babies want to party.

Finding your Soul is harder than it looks. This Huffington Post op-ed is a comical exposé on the "cult" that is SoulCycle—and it finally gives spin classes the respect they deserve. Marathons are impressive. Ironman competitions are insane. But don't discredit the hard work it takes to survive a high-energy, high-intensity, and high-pain SoulCycle experience  As more boutique workout experiences emerge (like Corepower and Flywheel), I will be eager to see how the country embraces them.


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