The Week That Wasn't: Brain Infection, Plastic Surgery Rates, Memory and Intelligence

Narrated by Melissa Walton-Shirley, MD

Disclosures

March 22, 2019

Hi, I'm Dr Melissa Walton-Shirley, and welcome to Medscape's The Week That Wasn't, our weekly feature that reviews medical stories our news team chose not to cover. Let's see what we have.

Our first story is a good reminder not to jam a Q-tip in your ear.

In a recent BMJ case report, a 31-year-old man living in India developed a raging infection in the lining of his brain after overzealously cleaning his ears. The patient endured 5 years of ear pain and hearing loss until he finally wound up in the ER with seizures. Emergency surgery identified the root of his troubles — a cotton swab lodged deep within his ear canal.

What a fascinating case — but not the sort of thing we typically cover on Medscape. This story does have a happy ending. The man has fully recovered and has sworn off up cotton swabs for good.

Moving on. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons annual statistics report is out, and it reveals why more than 18 million Americans look a little younger than they used to.

The society reports the biggest sellers in the nip and tuck business are, as always, breast augmentation, liposuction, and tummy tucks. But the majority of cosmetic improvements patients get are minimally invasive procedures like Botox, chemical peels, fillers, and laser hair removal.

These stats are likely no surprise to our readers. Still, it's nice to see my plastic surgeon colleagues so busy.

Our news team didn't cover this last study because...I don't know, maybe they forgot. In the journal Neuron , Canadian researchers propose that the goal of memory is not to transmit the most accurate information over time but rather to hold on to what's most important.

I'm paraphrasing here, but what the researchers are basically saying is that it's OK if memory isn't your strong suit. In fact, forgetfulness and selective memory might even be a sign of intelligence. Now if I can just get my kids to believe that.... FUHGETABOUTIT.

Thanks for watching. For Medscape's The Week That Wasn't, I'm Dr Melissa Walton-Shirley.

Script by Liz Neporent; video production by John Rodriguez

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