Red wine

Red wine (Francois Nascimbeni/Getty-AFP Photo)

The daily deluge of health studies, reports and statistics is often meandering and confusing.

After all, sometimes a report will contradict the findings of another issued just days earlier. More often, snapshots of the American experience are revealed in the numbers at the bottom of an abstract statistic, parked far away from the statistic shouting the loudest up top.

We take time out again now to sift through some of the reports that have surfaced in the last few months. Below is a sampling of interesting nuggets found therein, each shining some light on the body and mind.


Nearly this many Americans are on at least one prescription drug, according to a study published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Forty-eight percent of Americans in the study took at least one prescription drug in the past month. Antibiotics, antidepressants, painkilling opioids and cholesterol-lowering drugs were the most commonly used.


kinds of fungi live on the human foot, according to a study published in the journal Nature.

1 in 3

Fewer than this many U.S. children between ages 11 and 16 eat fruits and vegetables daily, according to the National Institutes of Health.


is the percentage increase in likelihood that patients who have weekend surgery will die compared with if they had undergone the procedure on a Monday, according to a study in the British Medical Journal. Some experts hypothesize that the quality and availability of expert staffing on the weekend may be to blame.

Biological dirt

What scientists are calling the bits and pieces found on roughly 15 percent of reusable colonoscopy instruments, according to a study at five hospitals nationwide presented at the annual conference for the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology. The study comes after thousands of patients in the last four years have had to undergo HIV and hepatitis testing after authorities uncovered improper cleaning practices at hospitals.


of women failed to pick up their new bisphosphonate prescriptions, a medication that is most commonly used to treat osteoporosis and similar bone diseases, according to a Kaiser Permanente study published in the journal Osteoporosis International. The failure to pick up these newly prescribed medications, called primary nonadherence, can lead to an increased risk of fractures for these patients.


Last year, the average U.S. family of four with health insurance spent more money on out-of-pocket health care costs ($9,144) than it did on groceries ($8,388), according to the 2013 Milliman Medical Index.

10 out of every 100,000

black people developed multiple sclerosis in an average year, compared with 7 white patients, 3 Hispanic patients and slightly more than 1 Asian person. More than two-thirds of all MS diagnoses were in women, and that gender gap was particularly strong among black people. It was previously believed that white people had a higher incidence of the disease. The study appeared in the journal Neurology.