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BOOSTER SHOTS

No Brainer

March 02, 1998|MARTIN MILLER

This from the men-are-from-Mars file: Women not only tend to live longer than men, but they also tend to have far less brain shrinkage in their later years, according to researchers at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. Shrinkage was most pronounced in the frontal and temporal lobes, which control thinking and memory. Dr. C. Edward Coffey, chairman of the hospital's psychiatry department, led the study. Between age 65 and 95, men experience an average of 30% increase in cerebrospinal fluid around the brain, an indication of brain shrinkage. Women, over the same ages, experience a 1% increase in fluid. Shorter lives, smaller brains--maybe men are from Mars.

Slice of Life

Each year, thousands of people cut their hands trying to slice a bagel. But according to a recent report in the British Medical Journal, frozen hamburgers pose a similar menace. British medical authorities have reported an epidemic of lacerations caused when people try to pry frozen beef patties apart with a knife. Officials are urging cooks to soften their burgers in a microwave first, or attempt patty separation with something that won't remove a finger--like a rubber spatula.

Now, Hear This

Yet another reason to run for your life when around smokers. Actually, if your child is 3 or younger, you should run for their ears. According to researchers at the University of Calgary in Canada, children who are repeatedly exposed to secondhand smoke are at almost double the risk for middle ear infections. Such infections affect up to 46% of children by age 3 and are the most frequent reason for the use of prescription drugs in this age group.

Smoking and Mental Health

Here's a reason to run for your mental health because of smoking. Smokers have a greatly increased risk of major depression, according to a study published in the February issue of American Medical Assn.'s Archives of General Psychiatry. Researchers also found that those with a history of major depression were much more likely to become daily smokers. That's enough to drive smokers to the nearest bar. Of course, in California, they won't be able to smoke there--which could be pretty depressing.

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