The Checkup: Americans Have Big Heads (Literally)

A study of head sizes found that white Americans today have bigger heads than their counterparts in the 19th century.

• I love that somebody’s out there looking at this stuff. A new study out of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, found that white Americans’ heads have become larger, longer and narrow since the 19th century. Reports HealthDay: “[They] found that the average height from the base to the top of the skull in men increased by eight millimeters (0.3 inches), while skull size grew by 200 cubic centimeters, a space equivalent to a tennis ball. In women, skull height increased by seven millimeters and skull size increased by 180 cubic centimeters.” No reasons were unearthed for the change in head size, but it could be due to a variety of factors, including better nutrition, lower infant mortality rate, less physically demanding lifestyles—or a mix of these and other factors.

• Someone get me some chocolate: A new study found that daily consumption of 3.5 ounces of dark chocolate could prevent a cardiac episode. Dark chocolate is being recommended as part of a preventative treatment plan for patients at high risk for stroke and heart attack.

• Back in April, we talked to a researcher at Penn Medicine about the benefits of exercise for cancer patients. Apparently that’s a hot topic at an oncology conference this week in Chicago, where four new studies on the issue provide more evidence for why doctors should recommend that cancer patients take up yoga or walk regularly.