The human body: An inspiring biological work of art? Or a meaty sack of germs and fluids? Either way, there’s still a lot we don’t know about what goes on in there — and scientists are constantly attempting to find out more. Here are the most interesting things they’ve discovered about our bodies in the last seven days:
Patty Cake, Patty Cake, Don’t Give a Dog a Bone
Since we started this column, we’ve successfully scared you half to death about all the things that could kill you, give you herpes or an uncontrollable case of the runs. It feels like it’s time for a change of pace, so instead of freaking you out about your own body today, how about we freak you out about your dog’s?
The L.A. Times ran a story this week about an FDA warning regarding bones for dogs — namely, that we’re dummies who’ve been giving them to our furry pets this whole time despite the fact that they’re actually really dangerous. Cases that have been reported to the FDA include owners whose dogs have had blockages, diarrhea, vomiting, bleeding from the rectum and even died.
The focus of the warning is on processed “bones treats,” products that have either been cooked, smoked or dried. So before you snatch away your dog’s favorite snack, know that not all dog bones are created equal: Some of what you’ll find in your local pet store are perfectly fine, such as any bone that is unprocessed, i.e., raw.
The difference is that raw bones are still full of natural moisture, making them softer. Processed bones are dry, making them brittle and more likely to result in splinters that can do damage to your dog’s digestive system. Not only that, but processed bones are often loaded with preservatives and flavorings that can make your dog sick.
So before you go grabbing that smoky-smelling moose hip for Fido, read the label — it could save your best bud’s life.
Get Your Erection Online
Why risk the look on your pharmacist’s face when you pick up your boner pills, when you can now get a prescription for and order your Viagra over the internet?
A Case of Itchy Balls Could Be as Serious as Cancer
Talk to a guy, any guy, and they’ll tell you: At some point in their lives (probably right now!) they’ve had balls that itched. When your precious family jewels are locked between a hot and a sweaty place, it’s inevitable that you’re going to get some jungle rot down there.
This is what men refer to as a “mild inconvenience”—just another cobblestone in the uneven road of life, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
Unfortunately, it seems, that may no longer be true.
A piece in the Washington Post tells the story of a guy for whom “jock itch” turned into something very real, and very scary. Stephen Schroeder had what he thought was just your run-of-the-mill itchy balls. Only, it lasted for several months, and came with, at first, a small, purplish pimple on his scrotum, then a scaly, red rash.
After finally consulting with his doctor — and getting the worst kind of “are you sitting down?” phone call while he was boarding a plane — Schroeder learned what that itch in his pants actually was: An invasive cancer called extramammary Paget’s disease, or EMPD. EMPD is deadly: According to one study, it has a mortality rate between 18 and 46 percent. Making things worse, EMPD is both extremely hard to diagnose, thanks to looking more like eczema than cancer, and likely to recur.
The good news is that EMPD is extremely rare. As the Post notes, only a few hundred cases worldwide have ever been reported (and that includes cases among women, where the diagnosis is relatively less rare).
After difficult and painful surgeries to remove the cancer and a recurrence in 2016, Schroeder went public with his diagnosis in an effort to warn other men that minor maladies can actually be quite serious, and to get themselves checked out. After all, you never know when a case of itchy balls can turn into something far more sinister.
Warning: Your Blood Pressure is About to Go Up
“Yo nurse, I’m really happy you’re taking my blood pressure, and I’ma let you finish but I’m pretty sure you’ve been taking it wrong this whole time.”
And Let’s Finish Off With More Dog News
In this week’s “no, duh” news, people who own dogs are less likely to suffer heart attacks and other diseases. Uhhh, duh, dogs are the best.