Take Care

What a Best-Selling Author Knows About Saving Lives

Woman Drinking Grapefruit JuiceWhen Dr. Billy Goldberg finished medical school, he became the health hotline for his extended family. His mother may have been a reliable source of wisdom about honey-lemon tea for a sore throat and triple-antibiotic ointment for cuts, but she wouldn’t have had the answers to quirky queries such as: Should you put steak on a black eye? If you get bitten by a snake, should you suck out the venom? Is it true you shouldn’t drink grapefruit juice if you’re on medication? These were among the dozens of questions Dr. Goldberg thought people might only ask their doctor after a few martinis. And collecting these conundrums gave him the fodder for two bestselling books, Why Do Men Have Nipples? and Why Do Men Fall Asleep After Sex?

An emergency room physician and assistant director in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Bellevue Hospital and NYU Hospital in New York City, Dr. Goldberg believes that humor not only makes you feel better, it may even help you fight disease. He cites a 2001 study by the Loma Linda School of Medicine in which 52 subjects watched an hour-long video of the comedian Gallagher doing his Sledge-O-Matic routine with a watermelon. For 12 hours after the viewing, participants had a higher level of disease fighting cells in their blood. Who knows, maybe Jay Leno and David Letterman are saving lives.

Speaking of saving lives, is it true that the emergency department is busiest on Saturday at midnight? Actually, Dr. Goldberg says that in most cities where commuters double the population during the workweek, Monday through Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m., may be  busier than the weekend. On the other hand, he also says that any time when there’s some sort of public festivity involving alcohol such as a St. Patrick’s Day parade or Mardi Gras, you can be pretty sure the ED will be packed. Lowered inhibitions, impaired coordination, and a crowd — it’s bad combination.

Next January, Goldberg will present “the ultimate roadmap to how to live forever” with his third book, 113 Easy Ways To Save Your Life.  Most books only give you seven or 10 ways, he points out. His 103 extras are likely to be a hoot.


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