The Checkup: Injuries, Deaths from Walking with Headphones Tripled

Turn the volume down!

Photo from Jupiterimages

• If you’re among the gaggles of on-foot commuters in Philly, be warned: a new study found that the number of injuries and deaths among pedestrians walking around with headphones on has tripled in seven years. Still, we’re talking about small numbers here, with just 16 such incidents between 2004 and 2005 and 47 in 2010 and 2011. Out of the total 116 cases reported in seven years, 81 resulted in death. And here’s a gruesome tidbit: half of the victims were struck by trains; the other half by everything from cars to tractors to bicycles. The study authors say the issue could be more widespread than it seems, as cases like this often go unreported. So here’s your food for thought for Wednesday: Turn the volume down. And another: Stop jaywalking.

• In baby news, a study found that babies don’t learn to talk just by hearing sounds; they read lips, too. Florida researchers figured it out by noticing that babies’ gazes shift from staring at eyes to staring at mouths at around 6 months of age. Then, 6 months later, around their first birthdays, babies begin looking into your eyes again; when they hear a foreign language, eyes go back to your mouth. Pretty neat. Read more about the research here.

• Lay off the bacon! And sausage while you’re at it, too. Swiss researchers are reporting a link between eating as little as four ounces of processed meat a day—about one sausage link or four pieces of bacon—and an increased risk for pancreatic cancer. Processed meats have also been linked to colon and bladder cancer. More here.