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 or on Twitter.
Rachel Schulze's reads
Why you can't look away from that cute animal video: If you've ever wondered why you just can't look away from that video of a kitten batting around a ball of yarn, Time's Jeffrey Kluger has the answer: Evolution. Baby-like features, such as big eyes and plump limbs, are the same across the animal kingdom, Kluger explains, and those features trigger a "deep need to cuddle and nurture and protect ... because cuddling and nurturing and protecting is precisely what helpless infants require if they're going to survive." According to Kluger, if the impulse didn't feel so good, infant animals in the wild would be neglected, opening up the potential for danger.
A miraculous landing: A small plane made a crash-landing near Seattle Tuesday, and no one was injured. According to a description the Federal Aviation Administration gave to local news, the plane started to lose power shortly after takeoff and the pilot was unable to restart the engine. The pilot responded by using a road as a runway, causing about 9,000 people to lose power—but not a single injury.
Marcelle Maginnis' reads
What would happen if you stopped eating vegetables? Most Americans fall short when it comes to eating the recommended two-to-three cups of vegetables per day, but what would happen if you just stopped eating them completely? According to dietician Georgie Fear, vegetables protect your cells from DNA damage, curb inflammation, and fight off carcinogens—hold off on those benefits long enough, and you could suffer from heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers, and potentially vision loss. But those symptoms would take years to develop; first, you'd likely experience constipation and bloating from the lack of fiber, an uptick in weight, a decrease in energy levels, a weakened immune system, and potential vitamin deficiencies.
So you've taken a vow of silence. Here's what happens next. When you say something thoughtless or embarrassing, it's tempting to wish you'd never spoken at all—but what would happen to your body if you really did keep your vow of silence? According to Anil Lalwani, an otolaryngologist at Columbia University, the laryngeal muscle would weaken from lack of use, a condition called presbylaryngis. Eventually, those weak muscles can result in a quieter voice, a higher pitch, a more hollow tone, and increased difficulty speaking. But you can always change your mind: The laryngeal muscle is located in the throat, which you use to breathe and eat, so it won't completely atrophy—meaning with enough practice, you could pick right up where you left off.