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Am Fam Physician. 1999;60(6):1636

Here fishy, fishy! Poor eating habits and disruptive behavior in patients with Alzheimer's disease could be reduced with the addition of brightly colored fish in an aquarium, claim researchers from Purdue University. A recent study of 60 patients showed that the addition of aquariums in nursing homes led to a 17.2 percent increase in food consumption and a reduction in physical aggression, pacing and yelling. These benefits might lower health care costs by eliminating the need for certain medications and nutritional supplements.

Baby, baby don't get hooked on me. According to Time magazine, a new study confirms that some psychologic problems in children can be linked to smoking during pregnancy. The report claims that drug abuse is five times more likely in adolescent females whose mothers smoked during pregnancy, and aggressive behavior is four times more likely in prepubescent boys whose mothers smoked during pregnancy.

Got milk? Athletes may need to be reminded to think milk in case of emergencies. According to a recent study, 28 to 72 percent of high school athletes sustain dental injuries, many of which involve the loss of a permanent tooth. Because milk has approximately the same acidity level as saliva, dropping the tooth into milk will help preserve it until a dentist can reinsert it. Other methods involve rinsing the tooth in water or holding it in the cheek with the tongue. If replaced within 30 minutes, the tooth has a 90 percent chance for survival, notes Prevention magazine.

Barbeque anyone? A study from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the University of Hawaii found that marinating meats before cooking reduces the amount of cancer-causing agents called heterocyclic amines by 92 to 99 percent, according to U.S. News & World Report. The best news is that it doesn't take a gourmet cook to reap these benefits. The ingredients proven to reduce the risk, such as vinegar, olive oil and lemon juice, are available in most store-bought marinades.

Take two proverbs and call me in the morning? According to a recent study at Duke University, people receive health benefits from participating in religious activities. Over a six-year study period, persons over the age of 64 years who attended weekly services were 46 percent less likely to die within the six years than persons who attended inconsistently. These persons were less likely to have depression and repeatedly discovered and sought treatment for illnesses sooner. The advantages are credited to the enlarged social network that organized religious activities offer, reports Time.

A Hazelden survey found that most smokers tried more than 10 times to quit smoking over about 20 years. Of those who failed to give up the noxious weed, 29 percent attributed their failure to stress, and 24 percent said they had such a good time smoking and craved cigarettes so much, they just couldn't quit, reports USA Today.

I cannot tell a lie, or can I? According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 26 percent of doctors have reportedly fudged about the severity of a patient's condition to obtain health care coverage, reports USA Today. Twenty-two percent of doctors surveyed admitted to stretching the truth on rare occasions, but 51 percent say they have never lied to gain coverage.

Most memories of abuse happen in the privacy of victims' homes, not on their doctors' couches. A study of 90 female patients by McLean Hospital researchers found that less than 50 percent of recollections of violence were uncovered while the patients were in treatment. The study's purpose was to investigate the widely held belief that such memories are often induced by the suggestions of therapists, reports Psychiatric News.

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Copyright © 1999 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.

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