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Am Fam Physician. 2000;61(12):3552

Be kind to your left-handed friends. According to a report in the American Journal of Public Health, as people age, the prevalence of left-handedness seems to become rarer. Many people born with an innate left-handedness switch to right-handedness in adulthood. According to the study, which included 1,692 Swiss men and women, the proportion of innately left-handed subjects who switched to the right hand for writing was 88.9 percent in persons 65 to 74 years of age. Among participants who were 35 to 44 years of age, the proportion was only 26.6 percent. Researchers believe societal pressure leads most lefties to reform. In Western populations, one of every 10 to 20 persons is left-handed.

The next time patients are late for an appointment, give them a break. They are part of the population who is spending 34 hours per driver per year in traffic. Traffic is more of a problem for persons living in urban areas with populations less than 3 million. In the past 10 years, cities like Indianapolis have experienced a 1,000 percent increase in their travel rate index, reports American Demographics. Just what do they do with this time spent in the car? Approximately 68 percent of Americans admit to talking to their car, and 55 percent of drivers who are stuck in traffic talk to themselves.

Did you bring back any souvenirs from your last vacation? Tropical diseases are showing up in the United States more often than ever before, reports Physician's Financial News. With the increase of global population, international travel, worldwide transport of animals and food products, and the development of resistance to antibiotics and antimicrobials, health officials are beginning to face new challenges. Some of the most deadly global infectious diseases and conditions include pneumonia, diarrhea, tuberculosis, malaria, measles and pertussis.

It's time to change! Hey doc, relax! Does that seem like an unlikely option for you? The Lancet recently reported that many doctors feel like little if any job security seems to exist for them, potentially causing physical and psychologic ill-health for doctors and lower quality care for their patients. A recent study found that one in three Swedish doctors would like to change departments, and one in 10 is considering leaving medicine. How can doctors get their stress under control? Individual options involve a healthy diet, exercise and reserving personal time. Management can help by providing more job control to their employees through a more sympathetic work environment, skill building and group decision making.

Parents and teens may not be on the same page when it comes to drug education, reports U.S. News & World Report magazine. In a recent poll that included 700 teens between 14 and 17 years of age and 700 parents, 39 percent of teens claimed their parents rarely or never talked to them about drugs, while only 14 percent said that their parents had talked to them “a lot” about drugs. However, almost 35 percent of parents polled claimed to talk to their teens a lot about drugs, and only 13 percent said they rarely or never talked to their teens about the dangers of drugs.

It's a fact: women live longer than men. According to USA Today, U.S. women live an average of seven years longer than American men. Worldwide, women live an average of four years longer than their male counterparts. The statistics, which were provided by the World Health Organization, show that U.S. women live to an average age of 80.

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