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Am Fam Physician. 2000;61(10):2957

Moving in with Grandma may not be the best answer, reports the Gerontological Society of America. A reported 3.9 million children were being raised by their grandparents in 1997, which has led to concerns about the effects of surrogate parenting on grandparents. A recent study first published in the Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences cited that grandmothers inherit the main burden of childcare, leading to stress symptoms, which increase if the grandchild's mother also resides in the household. Grandfathers tend to play a less significant role, culminating in eventual absence. While grandmothers seek support from relatives and friends, grandfathers seek solace in activities that take them outside the residence. Interestingly, if the child is later removed from the household, it is generally the grandfather who has an increase in depressive symptoms, rather than the grandmother.

Fill it up, doc. A recent trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that upping the amount of oxygen in the mix of gases patients breathe during surgery can decrease the incidence of wound infection by 50 percent. The extra oxygen halves the rate of postoperative nausea and vomiting. Even better, these extra benefits can be added for a mere 3 cents per patient, reports Time magazine.

Let me tell you ‘bout the birds and the bees—sooner rather than later. Earlier educational programs about puberty and menstruation are what the National Association of School Nurses has proposed. The recommendation follows a recent report by the American Academy of Pediatrics showing that physical changes related to puberty occur in girls as young as seven to eight years of age. The National Association of School Nurses recommends starting puberty education as early as the fourth grade, which is one to two years earlier than currently practiced in many U.S. schools, reports Family Practice News.

The high-protein, low-carbohydrate weight-loss diet has been effective in helping patients lose excess pounds and might be helpful in keeping the weight off, at least in men. A recent Australian study of 60 patients with central obesity and high triglyceride levels, high blood glucose values or hypertension found that after compliance with the high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet plan for 12 weeks, insulin sensitivity was improved in men, but not in women, reports Internal Medicine News. The researchers indicate that more studies are needed to verify findings, and representatives from the American Heart Association caution that the high-fat, high-protein diet has not proved more effective than a high-carbohydrate diet in maintaining weight loss.

Straight talk may mean the difference between life and death for some suicidal teens. According to a recent report in U.S. News & World Report, only one third of school counselors think they can recognize warning signs of suicidal students. This statistic alone is daunting, but combined with the 8 percent of students in grades nine through 12 who attempted suicide in the past year, the danger is of utmost significance. Experts suggest that talking openly with patients may be the best answer. Physicians, school counselors, parents and others in the community should avoid sidestepping discussions of mental illness. Some warning signs found in teens are restlessness, agitation, insomnia, excessive sleeping and withdrawal from friends.

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