Believe it or not, there are significant effects to hugging another person. In a study from Carnegie Mellon University in 2015, people who had great social support in the form of a hug, had fewer colds than a control group. Four hundred and four adults were studied. Dr. Sheldon Cohen who was the lead author of the study concluded that “hugging protects people who are under stress”.

Experts attribute the effects of a hug—usually about a one-minute hug—to the hormone oxytocin, often called the bonding hormone. In Obstetrics we know it as a hormone that bonds a mother with her newborn baby. Made in the center of the brain, it is released into the bloodstream and much of it remains in the brain where it influences moods and behavior.

Having someone hug you before a major event like an exam, a speech, or a trying event like a divorce proceeding, can make you calm and relaxed and better able to handle the stress.

As we age, we sometimes see small threads cruise across our eyes. They are most visible when looking at something that is bright. They can be distracting and annoying, but they usually do not interfere with sight. They are actually strands that come from the vitreous, a gel like substance that keeps the eyeball round. Most people get used to them and short of finding them to be an occasional annoyance, pay no attention to them. They cause no medical conditions.

Graying hair is a big concern for both men and women. After age 30 hair begins to gray 10-20% every decade. The process by which hair grays revolves around the presence or absence of a cell type in the hair shaft.  The pigment is derived from melanin in cells called melanocytes.  These cells are the same cells that produce skin pigment and make us brown or give us olive complexions. When the pigment in the hair shaft dies the hair becomes gray or loses pigment.

Polyps are collections of cells, small clumps within various organs like the nose, the bowel, the ear, the uterus, and the vocal cords. There are essentially two kinds of polyps, pedunculated and sessile. Pedunculat-ed polyps are cells on a stalk like a lollipop. The sessile polyps are flat and part of the tissue on which they arise. Some polyps have cancer producing potential, and this depends on where they are, the size, and the tissue of origin.