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Am Fam Physician. 2001;63(5):835

Don't leave the hospital without it. A University of California at Los Angeles study published in Circulation found that only 32 percent of heart attack survivors are prescribed cholesterol-lowering medication when leaving the hospital, yet clinical trials show that these medications greatly lower mortality rates among heart attack survivors.

One trip to the bathroom may be all it takes. According to a study in the American Journal of Hypertension, black men with hypertension may only need to have a single urine sample checked to find out if they are at risk for kidney damage. The study, conducted at Johns Hopkins University, is the first to link increased urinary albumin excretion (a warning sign of kidney damage) and left ventricular hypertrophy in urban black men.

Girls named Sue might have a difficult time finding work as a mechanic and might want to change their name to Jo. Results of a study published in the Journal of Social Psychology show that the secret to job success may be determined by how well names go with the gender associated with the job. Women with a feminine name like Sally are seen to be more successful in traditional female fields.

“Grow up.” With the discovery of three genetic mutations that result in isolated growth hormone deficiency (IGHD) type 1B, people with this condition will be able to physically grow up. A study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism analyzed the DNA of 30 families with IGHD-1B. The substitution of a single amino acid for another causes a change in the function of the growth hormone–releasing receptor. Thus, the pituitary gland isn't stimulated fully to enable growing up—literally.

Pay attention! Even though boys are diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) more often than girls, evidence suggests that the actual ratio of males to females with ADHD might be 2 to 1. A psychiatry professor at Harvard Medical School found that ADHD can be inherited through either gender. In the study, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, a familial subtype of ADHD was found that has an even male-female ratio.

Having a zit on the chin can bring anyone down. However, a study published in the British Journal of Dermatology found a correlation between mild to moderate acne and clinical depression. This study found that persons with acne are depressed because of their acne, and they have acne because they're depressed. Cheer up—both conditions improve with acne treatment.

A daily dose of bugs could keep the doctor away. The thought may turn the stomachs of some, but many scientists are saying that a helping of live microbes could aid digestion and maintain the stomach's natural balance. Even though the concept isn't new, and no harm can come from consuming a good microbe now and then, some think the benefits of live microbe supplements are few.

You can't prevent a fire if you keep igniting it. A study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology found that benzalkonium chloride (BAC), a preservative added to some nebulizer solutions, can spark an asthma attack instead of putting one out. Ten of 18 adults had a 20 percent drop in breathing capacity when exposed to the preservative. BAC is only added to albuterol solutions in screw-cap containers.

To do it or not to do it, that is the … indecision. While 78 percent of teens say they should not be sexually active, almost half of them are having sex. In addition, according to The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy and The Journal of Sex Research, 55 percent of male teens and 75 percent of female teens regret their decision to have sex.

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Copyright © 2001 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.

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