Quantum Sufficit

Just Enough

Am Fam Physician. 2002 Jun 1;65(11):2201.

▪ Are you getting a full eight hours of sleep every night? If you're not, don't keep yourself up worrying about it. A study of over 1.1 million people published in the Archives of General Psychiatry finds that persons who report having insomnia do not seem to have an increased risk of mortality. Researchers did find that sleeping fewer than six hours per night or more than eight hours per night increases the risk of dying earlier. So how much should we sleep? Based on the results of this study, seven hours of sleep per night seems optimal for longer life. In any case, rest easy.

▪ It's not your parents' science class. Teenagers may be adding hairnets and latex gloves to their list of school supplies if a program developed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the National Science Teachers Association is adopted at their school. According to FDA Consumer, the program, “Science and Our Food Supply,” teaches teens how food is produced and how to prepare it safely. In one experiment, students measure the growth of bacteria in hamburgers cooked at different temperatures. No doubt teenagers will have the same response after completing the program: “Well done.”

▪ People who had a “lazy eye” as a child can probably recall the eye patch they had to wear—and probably didn't want to wear. According to study results published in the Archives of Ophthalmology, atropine eye drops show promise as an alternative to the eye patch in the treatment of amblyopia in children between three and seven years. At 47 clinical sites, researchers studied 419 children who were either given atropine in the unaffected eye or wore a patch over it. After six months, researchers found that both treatments provided similar, successful outcomes.

▪ An encouraging trend has emerged. According to the results of two national surveys presented at a conference sponsored by the American Society for Microbiology and published in Family Practice News, the number of antibiotics prescribed decreased in the 1990s, thanks in part to family physicians. Survey results show that in 1999, family physicians and general practitioners wrote 23 percent fewer antibiotic prescriptions for patients older than 15 during office visits than they did in 1992. They also wrote 37 percent fewer antibiotic prescriptions for children younger than 15.

▪ While it is well known that dogs can assist humans who have visual and hearing impairments, it is also being found that dogs can be taught to assist people who have seizures. According to an article published in the New York Times, Florida recently passed a bill that will permit people with seizure disorders to be accompanied by a trained service dog in public places. The dogs are trained to warn of oncoming seizures, to retrieve medicine, carry a telephone to their owner, and keep the owner immobile during a seizure.


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