Archive for August, 2004

College trips now often replace summer vacations

Bill Schackner, Amy McConnell Schaarsmith in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports:

For legions of families preoccupied with their children’s college choice, summer vacation has been supplanted by what might be described as a triathlon of academic sales pitches, family stress and fast food.

It’s true that one need not tour a college to get admitted, and it’s hardly a pivotal factor in most admission decisions. But many colleges do at least consider who bothers to show up - as many as 44 percent of them do, according to the National Association for College Admission Counseling, which recently surveyed almost 600 campuses.

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Study: Two health systems — black and white

CNN reports:

Inferior qualifications and less access to resources among doctors who treat black patients may contribute to racial disparities in the quality of U.S. health care, authors of a study said Wednesday. The study, published in Thursday’s New England Journal of Medicine, found that many of the doctors treating black patients complain they don’t have the resources to adequately care for them.

“The findings paint a picture of two health systems, where physicians treating black patients appear to have less access to important clinical resources and be less well-trained clinically than physicians treating white patients,” said study leader Peter Bach of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

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Egg-freezing for fertility offers hope - and hype

Marie McCullough in Philadelphia Inquirer reports:

guring out how to freeze a woman’s eggs so she can look forward to making babies with Mr. Right, even if he doesn’t show up until she’s halfway to retirement.

Egg-freezing is suddenly the subject of advertisements, talk shows, magazine articles, and even a fledgling chain of cryo-egg franchises.

It sounds great, but women who grab the option right away should not expect to extend anything, except maybe their credit card limit.

Only about 120 frozen-egg babies have been born worldwide since the first one in 1985 - too few, experts say, to rule out genetic risks. While egg-preservation technology is improving, it remains hit-or-miss, and most clinics offering it commercially have not had much practice, let alone produced a cryo-egg baby.

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Child seats urged for air travel

Alan Levin in USA Today reports:

The National Transportation Safety Board on Tuesday renewed its call for mandatory child safety seats on airline flights, calling their absence “unacceptable.”

But the agency responsible for investigating aviation accidents can’t force airlines to require the restraints.

The NTSB’s unanimous vote is the latest move in a 25-year battle over how to protect children younger than 2 on flights. Three children who were riding in a parent’s lap have died in crashes in the past 20 years when the impact flung them across the cabin.

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Infertility Specialists Say Men Often Overlooked

Ned Potter in ABC News reports:

Gynecologists do what they are trained to do: treat women. As a result, Lipshultz says, a woman may go through extensive testing and treatment. Half of the time, it is fruitless.

“It’s going to take a much shorter period of time, less money, and certainly less discomfort, for the male to be evaluated,” he says. “The woman’s evaluation is usually painful and more time-consuming, so it’s logical to get the man’s evaluation out of the way.”

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New magazine targets over-35 moms-to-be

The Houston Chronicle reports:

While there are plenty of books and magazines for women who do not know what to expect while expecting, a new magazine geared to women having children later in life is finding a new route to its readers — gynecologists’ offices.

The inaugural issue of Plum, the first pregnancy magazine aimed at women over 35, is to arrive in doctors’ offices this fall. The magazine, which is to be produced by Groundbreak Publishing, is described as a joint effort with the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists.

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Flu during pregancy linked to schizophrenia

Lee Bowman in Scripps Howard News Service reports:

A study published Monday finds that pregnant women who get the flu may increase the risk of having a baby who develops schizophrenia years later, underscoring government advice that pregnant women need to have be vaccinated against the flu.

The study, published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, is part of a larger study known as the Prenatal Determinants of Schizophrenia in which researchers are looking not only at prenatal infection, but also at chemical exposure, paternal age and a range of other factors in fetal development that might influence risk for the disease when the children become young adults.

Schizophrenia risk increased sevenfold when the fetus was exposed to flu virus in the first trimester of pregnancy and by three times if the exposure came within the first half of the pregnancy.

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Six Patterns for Weight Loss Management

Kelli A. Miller in WebMD reports:

Has dieting got you down? Concentrating more on your behavioral patterns and less on your middle may help keep off the pounds for good.

A study published in the July 2004 Nursing Science Quarterly reports that 18 women who lost 10% of their body weight and kept it off for at least a year did so by embracing six behavioral patterns

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Parents ponder tech’s place for kids

News-Journal Online reports:

There’s no shortage of sites and software aimed at very young kids and even toddlers. Noggin.com has games and virtual coloring books for preschoolers. A Crayola licensee makes handheld video games, including one where youngsters race in a crayon-shaped car, for 3 and up. KidzMouse Inc. makes computer mice for small hands.

But there’s growing debate over whether children should be exposed to technology so early. Some parents and scholars see no benefit, and a handful even warn of a hindrance to child development.

“Mental ability is gained from manipulating the three-dimensional world at that age and (from) managing your own mind and not having it managed by an electronic machine,” said Jane M. Healy, author of “Failure to Connect: How Computers Affect Our Children’s Mind.”

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Your Credit Rating Is Likely Flawed

Selena Maranjian in The Motley Fool reports:

According to the Public Interest Research Groups (PIRG), a survey they conducted found that 79% of credit reports featured errors — that’s nearly four in five, suggesting that the odds are strong that your credit report isn’t as clean as it should be. Worse, 25% had serious errors — bad enough to lead lenders to refuse you credit when you need it, perhaps to buy a house or car.

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