May 10, 2019

Weekend reads: Doctors perform open heart surgery—on the street

Daily Briefing

    Ben Palmer's reads

    It's a playground—but full of junk. Over 70 years ago, Danish landscape architect Carl Theodor Sorensen noticed that children preferred playing in abandoned lots and construction sites to asphalt playgrounds that were built for them. So, he created "junk playgrounds," and now, there are about 1,000 junk playground worldwide. These playgrounds are full of old junk for kids to play with. For instance, kids can smash a keyboard with a hammer, climb a 15-foot steel platform, or use a saw on wooden planks. The idea is to give children play that's less structured to help foster their creativity and independence. The children are watched by specially trained adults who show them how to use the tools provided and intervene only when the children are in danger.

    That's nuts. Eating nuts during pregnancy correlated with improved cognitive ability in children, according to a study published in the European Journal of Epidemiology. The study observed 2,208 children and found that the children of women who were in the highest one-third for nut consumers during pregnancy scored significantly higher on tests of sustained attention, memory, and I.Q. than children of women who ate less nuts. Jordi Julvez, a researcher at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health, said while the subject needs further research, he would "recommend that women eat nuts at least three times a week, especially almonds, walnuts, and hazelnuts."

    Rachel Schulze

    They did open heart surgery where? A pair of doctors in England recently performed open-heart surgery on a stabbing victim in the street. The man had gone into cardiac arrest and was bleeding to death from his wounds. When emergency responders arrived, they worried the man wouldn't make it to the hospital—so, they started surgery right there. The team performed a thoracotomy to stop bleeding and restart the patient's heart. Chris Smith, a doctor who led the team, called the procedure "relatively severe." The patient survived but suffered major injuries.

    The Plague. A couple in Mongolia died this month after contracting the plague—the illness that killed an estimated 50 million people in the 14th century—while hunting for marmots. The couple likely ate the animal for its rumored health benefits—some Mongolians believe eating the large rodent's raw meat and kidneys is good for you. Each year, at least one person in Mongolia dies from plague, typically after making contact with a marmot, according to the U.S. National Center for Zoonotic Diseases. However, David Markman, a researcher at Colorado State University, said those who contract plague from marmots likely don't get it from eating the animal's flesh. The human stomach kills many harmful bacteria before they can cause an infection—rather, the "vast majority of human cases are result of contracting [the plague] from a flea bite," Markman explained. 

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