Quantum Sufficit

Just Enough

Am Fam Physician. 1998 Nov 1;58(7):1531.

▪ Apparently, there are just not enough people dying to get into New York's medical schools. According to The Wall Street Journal, the cadaver population has decreased dramatically in the city and schools are having a difficult time finding enough to go around. Cadavers are valuable learning tools and doing without is not an option. Part of the problem is the number of medical schools in the area. Also, unclaimed corpses are often shipped to the mortuary schools rather than the medical schools. Several medical schools have created a video, “The Most Precious Gift,” to encourage nursing home residents to become future donors.

▪ High school ballet dancers attending second-tier dance programs have a higher prevalence of eating disorders than dancers who attend elite dance schools. Researchers reason that top schools more often recruit naturally thin girls, while second-tier programs include girls with a greater likelihood of a family history of obesity. In a self-reported, anonymous survey of highly selected professional dancers, 5 percent admitted having anorexia, while 23 percent of the second-tier dancers were anorectic. Purgative behavior was reported by 15 percent of the less highly selected dancers, while none of the top dancers surveyed reported such behavior, according to Family Practice News.

▪ Telling your children how smart they are isn't such a brilliant idea. According to a study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, children who are praised for their intelligence blame subsequent poor performance on their lack of ability. Children who are commended for their hard work, however, believe defeat is caused by insufficient effort and proceed to work even harder.

▪ Good news for golfers! A plant geneticist has developed a formidable breed of grass for golf greens. The special grass, called TifEagle, was developed from Bermuda grass. A U.S. Department of Agriculture researcher exposed the Bermuda grass to gamma rays and then began breeding the mutant offspring. The result? A short, narrow-leaved grass with a dense root system that will help to choke out weeds. TifEagle will hold up better under constant mowing and will not require much herbicide, according to Business Week.

▪ Heartburn may sound like a minor inconvenience to most people, but for some the impact on everyday life is enormous. A survey conducted by Yankelovich Partners and reported by the Heartburn Advisory Panel showed that 65 percent of 1,004 frequent heartburn sufferers (those affected three times a week or more) say that heartburn has affected their sleep, 21 percent say heartburn has interfered with assignments and projects at work, 15 percent have canceled activities with friends or family because of heartburn, and 9 percent say their sex life has suffered.

▪ Arsenic and old leukemia? Researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center report that arsenic may be effective in achieving remisssion in patients with acute promyelocytic leukemia, according to Internal Medicine News. Twelve patients were enrolled in the pilot study; remission was achieved in all 10 of the patients who were evaluable. Patients were infused for four to six hours daily with arsenic trioxide until their bone marrow was cancer-free. The infusion time ranged from 14 to 39 days. Four of those in the study tested negative for molecular evidence of leukemia.


Copyright © 1998 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.
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