WTF Fun Fact 13235 – Pacemaker Recycling

All kinds of people from all walks of life can develop heart disease and need a pacemaker. But not everyone can afford them. That’s why pacemaker recycling projects are popping up around the country to ensure that people of all incomes can have access to this life-saving technology. As a bonus, they also help the environment.

What’s the point of pacemaker recycling?

The main goal of pacemaker recycling is to reduce waste and conserve natural resources, as well as to provide access to medical devices for individuals who may not otherwise have access to them.

Pacemakers are small, implantable devices that are used to regulate the heartbeat of people with heart conditions. They are typically made from a combination of metal and plastic components and can be expensive to produce.

When a pacemaker is no longer needed, it can be difficult to dispose of properly. That’s because the materials used to make the device are not biodegradable and can pose environmental and health risks.

Pacemaker recycling helps to mitigate these risks by collecting used pacemakers and other medical devices. Then, they’re refurbished for reuse or broken down into their component parts for recycling. This reduces waste and conserves natural resources. It also provides access to medical devices for individuals who may not otherwise have access to them.

Do people use these recycled items?

Yes, absolutely. And they’re life-saving.

In many developing countries, access to medical devices, including pacemakers, can be limited due to high costs and a lack of infrastructure. Pacemaker recycling programs can help to address these challenges by providing refurbished medical devices to patients who need them, at a fraction of the cost of a new device.

This can improve access to medical care for individuals who may not otherwise have access to it, and can help to improve health outcomes for patients who require these medical devices.

Pacemaker recycling programs are becoming increasingly common in the US.
Recycled pacemakers are refurbished to ensure that they meet the same safety and quality standards as new devices. Then, they’re made available at a significantly lower cost than a new pacemaker.

Recycled pacemakers are subject to the same regulations and standards as new pacemakers. That means they must be thoroughly tested and evaluated before they are made available for use to make sure they’re just as safe and effective as new devices.

If you or a loved one have a pacemaker, you can even make arrangements for it to be recycled after your death. Check out Project My Heart Your Heart below for an example.  WTF fun facts

Source: “Recycle your pacemakers!” — Project My Heart Your Heart

WTF Fun Fact 13216 – There’s Enough Iron in the Body to Make a Nail

The average human body contains enough iron to make a 3-inch nail. Well, a healthy body anyway. Some of us probably don’t get enough iron.

Is there really enough iron in the body to make a nail?

Humans require iron for many essential bodily functions. Iron is an essential mineral that helps transport oxygen throughout the body and is found in many foods such as red meat, poultry, fish, and beans. It is also found in food additives and dietary supplements, and is added to infant formula as well.

It’s important to note that iron deficiency is a common problem and can lead to anemia, fatigue, and impaired cognitive functioning. The World Health Organization recommends that people consume 10-20 milligrams of iron per day to maintain optimal health.

The average male body contains approximately 4.5 grams of iron, while the average female body contains approximately 3.5 grams. This means that the total amount of iron found in the human body is enough to make a 3-inch nail. Note: nails generally weigh between 2 to 3 grams.

Of course, no one is going to siphon the iron of your body and smelt it into a nail – hopefully.

What’s the significance of this concept?

Nails are often used as a metaphor for hard work. In that sense, it’s no surprise that the idea of making a 3-inch nail from the iron in the human body is a concept that fascinates people.

Iron can also be used to represent the ability to persevere and overcome difficult challenges. It conjures up images of fortitude and determination, courage, ad the will to succeed. Additionally, iron can also be used as a metaphor for protection. often a symbol of armor or a shield.

The metaphor of making a 3-inch nail from the iron stored in the body also speaks to our strength and resilience of the human body. It emphasizes the importance of how the iron in our bodies is used to help us do hard work.

 WTF fun facts

Source: “There Is Enough of This Metal in the Body To Make a Nail” — Soma Blog

WTF Fun Fact 13201 – The Power of Looking at Cute Animals

Have you ever fallen down the rabbit hole (no pun intended) of looking at cute animals on the internet or social media? It’s hard to look away!

Well, it turns out, looking at them could be good for you.

There is evidence to suggest that your cute cat meme fixation can boost both focus and concentration. Studies have also found that looking at pictures of baby animals can improve attention and task performance.

The benefits of looking at cute animals

There is some evidence to suggest that looking at cute animals can boost both focus and concentration.

Researchers published a study in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. It found that looking at pictures of baby animals can improve attention and task performance. In fact, participants who viewed images of cute animals performed better on tasks requiring attention and fine motor skills. At least compared to those who viewed images of adult animals or inanimate objects.

Another study conducted by researchers at Hiroshima University in Japan found that looking at pictures of cute animals can increase activity in the brain’s prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for attention, problem-solving, and decision-making.

According to the Association for Psychological Science (cited below), “Led by researcher Hiroshi Nittono, the team conducted three experiments with 132 university students and concluded that cute images may facilitate improved performance on detail-oriented tasks that require concentration.”

We’ve long known that humans are attracted to looking at things that look juvenile. “Baby schema” includes things like a large head and protruding, large eyes – and they just seem “cuter” to us. Baby humans and baby animals often have these characteristics.

But now there’s proof that cute things might make our brains operate a bit better. Nittono and colleagues wrote in their paper:

“This study shows that viewing cute things improves subsequent performance in tasks that require behavioral carefulness, possibly by narrowing the breadth of attentional focus.”

Puppy power

Additionally, looking at cute animals can also release oxytocin, a hormone that is associated with feelings of love and bonding, which can lead to increased feelings of positive emotion and well-being.

It’s worth noting that these studies are still in the early stages, and more research is needed to understand the full extent of the effects of looking at cute animals on focus and concentration.

Of course, looking at cute animals is great and all, but is not a replacement for getting professional help if you have serious attention and focus issues.

 WTF fun facts

Source: “The Power of Puppies: Looking at Cute Images Can Improve Focus” — Association for Psychological Science

WTF Fun Fact 13193 – The Office CPR Scene Saved a Life

Cross Scott was a 21-year-old fan of The Office living in Arizona when he saved a man’s life using CPR. But Scott was never trained in the maneuver. Instead, he learned it from watching “The Office” CPR scene.

What is The Office CPR scene?

In the episode of the NBC comedy starring Steven Carrell, main character Michael Scott instructs employees to do chest compressions to the tune of “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees.

According to Rolling Stone’s coverage (cited below), Cross Scott actually sang the song while he was performing the life-saving chest compressions. Ironically, in the CPR television scene, Scott also gives a lot of questionable advice.

Saving a life

Cross Scott drew on his television CPR skills when he found a woman unconscious behind the wheel of a car rolling down a dirt pull-off road in 2019. He is an auto care technician and managed to break the window of the woman’s car with a rock to free her. Then he noticed she didn’t have a pulse.

Most of us wouldn’t know what to do in that situation, but professionals have advised people not to be afraid to do chest compressions on someone who has no pulse. Otherwise, the person will likely die if no help is around.

It took paramedics 10 minutes to arrive at the scene, but Scott had already performed chest compressions successfully enough for her to start breathing again (and throw up). The woman survived and was released from the hospital the same day.

Scott recalled “I’ve never prepared myself for CPR in my life. I had no idea what I was doing.” But it turns out he knew more than he realized thanks to The Office. “Stayin’ Alive” is the correct rhythm for chest compressions.  WTF fun facts

Source: “Arizona Man Who Learned CPR From ‘The Office’ Saves Woman’s Life” — Rolling Stone

WTF Fun Fact 13189 – I Hate Elvis Badges

Meme sites and Reddit boards have long shared a tidbit of Elvis’s history that people find hard to believe. Elvis Presley’s manager once sold “I Hate Elvis” badges so he could make money off of people who hated The King just as he did with fans. And it appears to be true.

Selling I Hate Elvis badges

Presley’s manager, Colonel Tom Parker was quite the marketing genius. He was also excellent at making himself money in any way possible. Many of Elvis’s early music and performance deals paid Parker half of the money.

By the end of 1956, Elvis’s merchandise was bringing in $22 million! For this, Parker got 25% of the profits. But it was a little reverse psychology that made him even more money.

Not everyone loved Elvis. And we all know that when something or someone is super popular, people take great pride in outwardly hating it to somehow set themselves apart from the “masses.” (Not to mention that older generations saw Elvis as a corrupting influence.)

As a result, Colonel Parker decided to make both sides happy and created “I Hate Elvis” badges for non-fans. That way he could make money off of the other side too. (Too bad he didn’t come up with an “I feel ambivalent about Elvis” badge – he could have covered all his bases.)

In a book titled Colonel (The True Story of Colonel Tom Parker and Elvis Presley), author Alanna Nash mentions the badges. She states:

“Parker, who tied on a vendor’s apron to peddle both I LOVE ELVIS and I HATE ELVIS buttons to folks who reacted strongly one way or another, didn’t care what the newsmen said as long as they said it — and paid their own admission to the shows.”

All press is good press if you’re making money off of it, apparently! You can still find vintage “I hate Elvis” buttons online.  WTF fun facts

Source: “Did Elvis Presley’s Manager Sell ‘I Hate Elvis’ Buttons to Profit From ‘Haters’?” — Truth or Fiction

WTF Fun Fact 13186 – Medical Term for Ice Cream Headache

Eating ice cream too fast can hurt! In fact, so many people have experienced the phenomenon of these headaches (also called “brain freeze”) that there’s an official name for them. The medical term for ice cream headache is sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia.

Why is there a medical term for ice cream headache?

The world loves ice cream. And sometimes we eat it too fast either because 1) it’s so delicious, or 2) we need to eat it before it melts. But we pay the price.

But what we sometimes call an ice cream headache is also referred to as “brain freeze” and can happen without the delicious ice cream.

According to the Cleveland Clinic (cited below), “Brain freeze is a brief but intense pain in the front part of your head. It occurs when you eat, drink or breathe something extremely cold…” So it can include breathing in freezing air as well as eating slushies, ice cubes, popsicles, etc.

While we have lots of colloquial names for the pain, the scientific/medical term for ice cream headache is sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia.

Who is at risk for getting ice cream headaches?

Anyone can get a brain freeze. Children may be more likely to get brain freeze because they may not have learned to slow down when eating something fun like an ice pop.

Some research has shown that sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia is more common in people who get migraine headaches.

What is sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia?

An ice cream headache comes on quickly, but it also goes away relatively fast. It’s often gone in a few minutes, tops, and doesn’t need to be treated with medicine.

Brain freeze doesn’t cause other symptoms either – no nausea or sensitivity to light, for example. It’s just temporary pain that occurs “When your body senses sudden, extreme cold in the mouth or throat” and “tries to react and warm up.”

The headache sets in as “Blood vessels throughout the head expand to let extra blood into the area for warmth. That quick change in blood vessel size causes sudden pain.”

Of course, you can prevent the pain caused by doing that thing by avoiding that thing. But who wants to avoid ice cream and other cold treats? Instead, try warming up your mouth and throat by drinking room-temperature water or pressing your tongue against the roof of your mouth. Or just slow down on the ice cream.  WTF fun facts

Source: “Brain Freeze” — Cleveland Clinic

WTF Fun Fact 13180 – Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia

Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia is the fear of long words. And someone clearly had a sense of humor when they created it to be one of the longest words in the English dictionary.

What is hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia?

Well, for starters, the tongue-twister isn’t officially recognized by the American Psychological Association’s DSM 5 (the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which is used to make diagnoses) as an actual phobia. It’s more of a curiosity and an excuse to show off your language skills.

One can also refer to the fear of long words as “sesquipedalophobia.”

But before you think it’s ridiculous, note that psychologists do categorize hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia as a social phobia.

According to the DSM-5, criteria for social phobias require a patient to have the following:

  • a fear or anxiety about social situations where a person may be examined, like meeting new people or having a conversation
  • the fear or anxiety is disproportionate to the social situation
  • the fear or anxiety is persistent, and the social situation is excessively avoided
  • the fear, anxiety, or avoidance causes clinical distress

What causes such a unique phobia?

According to Healthline (cited below), social phobias like this can be associated with a negative event that was scary or traumatic at the time, a family history of phobias or other mental health issues, a person’s environment (especially if they see someone else develop a similar phobia), and changes in brain function. It’s certainly not something to make light of or ignore.

However, people may not seek treatment for fear of stigma, even from doctors. They’re more likely to take jobs or lead lifestyles that don’t require them to use long words. And there’s no official “limit” of word length that qualifies someone for this phobia.

The good news is that there are treatments and coping mechanisms one can explore with a professional to help someone afflicted with hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia, whether it’s helping them manage anxiety symptoms or overcome their fear altogether with training.

 WTF fun facts

Source: “What is hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia?” — Healthline

WTF Fun Fact 13177 – Nostrils Take Turns

Did you know your nostrils take turns breathing in air? Well, at least they take turns breathing in the most air, meaning one always takes in a bit more than the other. This also helps explain why nostrils tend to trade off on getting stuffy as well.

How we breathe

According to Dr. Michael Benninger, a head-and-neck doctor at the Cleveland Clinic via Live Science (cited below), “At any given time, people do about 75% of their breathing from one nostril and 25% from the other, said The dominant nostril switches throughout the day. This is called the nasal cycle.”

We even have preferred nostrils. Some of us tend to take in more air through the right and others through the left (this corresponds to your dominant hand). But for the most part, our nostrils trade off about 2 hours.

Why do nostrils take turns?

We typically don’t notice one nostril being stronger than the other during the day. We also don’t really notice the trade-off unless we’re stuffy. But, in general, the nasal cycle continues throughout the day, even at our healthier, with one nostril becoming slightly more congested (and therefore taking in less air) than the other.

Why does this occur? No one knows for sure. However, Benninger told Live Science there’s one popular theory: “Some people have speculated that it has to do with allowing moisture to build up on one side so that it doesn’t get too dry.”

You may notice your nasal cycle more when you sleep, especially if you’re a side sleeper. When sleeping on your side, gravity will cause the lower nostril to become less congested. But this plays into the nasal cycle as well. If it’s your right nostril’s “turn” to be less congested, laying on your right side will simply even things out. But if you lay on the side of your more congested nostril, you may experience extra congestion.

Things aren’t quite the same when you have a cold that stuffs up both nostrils. In that case, your nasal cycle will have little influence over congestion.  WTF fun facts

Source: “Why don’t we breathe equally out of both nostrils?” — Live Science

WTF Fun Facts 13172 – Drinking Water and Aging

We’ve been given a lot of contradictory advice about drinking water over the decades. Drink eight glasses of water. Don’t drink eight glasses of water. Drink only when you’re thirsty. Drink as much water as possible. However, too much water can kill you. Well, according to a new study from the National Institutes of Health, it turns out drinking water and aging are related.

The “anti-aging” benefits of drinking water

There’s nothing wrong with aging, of course. We should all be so lucky to be able to do it. But in this case, we’re referring to the diseases and bodily degeneration that accompany age. According to CBS News, the study shows that drinking enough water is “associated with a significantly lower risk of developing chronic diseases, dying early, or being biologically older than your chronological age…”

Study author Natalia Dmitrieva from the Laboratory of Cardiovascular Regenerative Medicine at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute said in a news release.”The results suggest proper hydration may slow down aging and prolong a disease-free life.”

You might be skeptical about that. But when you look at all of the studies on (clean) water consumption, it’s pretty obvious that it can help deliver some health benefits under the right circumstances.

How was the study performed?

Dmitrieva and her lab gathered an impressive amount of data from 11,255 adults over a 30-year period. They compared the subjects’ serum sodium levels (something that reliably goes up when a person doesn’t drink adequate water to meet their body’s needs) to 15 health indicators. These included things like blood pressure, respiratory and immune functioning, blood sugar, cholesterol, etc.

And you can imagine what they found. Adults with high serum sodium levels were more likely to develop chronic diseases. They were also more likely to die younger than those with low serum sodium levels (and therefore, higher water intake).

This helps strengthen the results of a 2022 study that linked poor water intake to heart disease.

How does water affect aging?

Data was gathered from the subjects during five medical visits, two when they were in their 50s and 60s and the last between the age of 70 and 90. They also used relatively healthy subjects who did not already have chronic high serum sodium levels or other factors that could affect results, like obesity. They also adjusted for things like race, sex, and smoking status, since those can affect someone’s overall lifespan.

According to the NIH, they found:

“They found that adults with higher levels of normal serum sodium – with normal ranges falling between 135-146 milliequivalents per liter (mEq/L) – were more likely to show signs of faster biological aging. This was based on indicators like metabolic and cardiovascular health, lung function, and inflammation...Adults with serum sodium levels between 138-140 mEq/L had the lowest risk of developing chronic disease.”

Correlation and causation

Water intake, health, and aging are correlated in these studies. There appears to be a relationship between them. But you know what they say – correlation does not equal causation. That means there can be other factors involved, and that water intake does not immediately affect any of these disease or aging outcomes.

Of course, maybe water intake is the key. But that’s not something the study can prove. For that, we’ll need a lot more evidence and research into how our bodies develop or stave off specific diseases.

But in the meantime, this information can help guide our choices. Since more than half of adults in the U.S. don’t drink enough water, maybe it’s time to incorporate more into your day.  WTF fun facts

Source: “Drinking lots of water can help reduce the effects of aging” — CBS News