The Checkup: Pope Francis Only Has One Lung

It was removed when he was a teenager, and now everybody's wondering why.

The dome of St. Peter Basilica in Vatican City

• Here’s an interesting factoid for any papal trivia games you might find yourself playing in the future: Pope Francis only has one lung. Why? Well, that’s what everybody’s speculating about. It was removed as a teenager, according to reports, and the most likely reason is a serious infection of some kind, brought on by anything from TB to pneumonia, prompting the removal of the organ to mitigate further health complications. Another theory: Pope Francis may have been born with a defect of some kind or an unusual growth that made breathing difficult. But don’t go worrying your pretty little head about the Pope’s health. “Fortunately, the lungs are a redundant system, and losing one lung doesn’t seriously compromise health,” reports “The only concern Pope Francis faced, and will continue to face, is that he has less respiratory reserve than someone with two intact lungs. That means he may be at slightly higher risk of complications from influenza or more vulnerable to succumbing to pneumonia.”

Sprite’s getting a calorie-slashing makeover. The new recipe will call for a combination of stevia and sugar, cutting 30 percent of the calories from the current formulation. However, experts worry that even though the drink is lighter, people will treat it like a zero-calorie diet beverage (even though it’s not one) and may actually end up adding calories to their diets unwittingly. More here.

Can dreading exercise, which causes stress, nullify the stress-reducing powers of exercise? Maybe, according to new research reported in the New York Times. Read about the fascinating new study here.

Photo: alessandro0770 /