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Am Fam Physician. 2001;63(3):423

More doesn't always mean better. According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, lower dosages of estrogen are just as effective as higher dosages in reducing bone turnover. A group of 107 women was given a placebo, 1.0 mg of 17-beta estradiol, 0.5 mg of estradiol or 0.25 mg of estradiol. Over the three-month period, those in the 0.25-mg estradiol group had decreases in bone turnover similar to those who took the higher dosages. This group also experienced fewer side effects.

Want to improve your kids' grades? Make sure they drink plenty of milk. Researchers have found that children who do not consume enough vitamin B12 may suffer in the classroom and on intelligence tests. While the B12 deficiency may not be severe enough to cause anemia, it might affect the child's ability to reason, solve complex problems, think abstractly and learn.

Some rules were made to be followed. A study published in Neurology showed that when scuba divers follow the safety precautions, the sports activity has no long-term effects on the brain. No differences were found between 24 professional German Navy divers and 24 German Navy (nondiving) employees when given a battery of exams to test their brain functions. The professional divers had been diving for an average of 17 years, had dived an average of 1,652 times and were following the rules.

To prevent memory loss, check the aluminum level of your water. An eight-year study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found a link between Alzheimer's and drinking water with a high aluminum concentration. Drinking water with aluminum levels above 0.1 mg per L greatly increases your risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer's disease. Earlier research showing that aluminum damages nerve cells supports this study.

Looking for a leech jar, a bloodletting instrument or an antique surgical amputation kit? Acquiring the medical tools of yesteryear may be as easy as logging onto the Internet. According to a recent article in American Medical News, many physicians are buying antique medical items online. Electronic auctions regularly feature a variety of vintage medical pieces—one site offers an estimated 2,000 medically related antiques at any given time. Online auctions can put you in touch with other collectors (most of whom are physicians) and sellers around the world. There is one caveat: if you decide to put your collection of rusty old medical tools on display, you might want to choose a place other than your waiting room!

We all know that babies need to be put down to sleep on their backs. That position, however, is apparently not the best one for a snoring adult with severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). According to a study published in Chest, 30 patients with OSA who were tested in supine and lateral positions were found to have apneic events more often and with greater severity when they slept on their backs.

Bottoms up for a good memory. New research shows that moderate drinking may decrease your chance of getting Alzheimer's disease. The study, led by the chief of the Genetics Program at Boston University School of Medicine, found that men who drank two alcoholic beverages a day and women who drank one were half as likely to get Alzheimer's disease as teetotalers or those who drank little alcohol. Researchers think alcohol may protect the brain by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, and improving blood flow.

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Copyright © 2001 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.

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