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Am Fam Physician. 2004;70(3):433

“Kangaroo care,” a technique for soothing premature infants through skin-to-skin contact, also can help term infants make the transition from fetal to neonatal life. In a randomized controlled study published in Pediatrics , 47 healthy term infants were assigned to be taken directly to the newborn nursery after delivery or to receive an hour of kangaroo care (placement between the mother’s breasts, with the infant’s head close to the mother’s neck and the infant’s feet on her abdomen). Nurses observed that four hours after delivery, the infants who received kangaroo care slept more, fussed and cried less, and made fewer startled motions compared with infants who were taken directly to the nursery.

“If men had to have mammograms, they would have come up with a better method by now.” Sound like a familiar complaint? In a preliminary study published in Radiology and reported on, researchers at Dartmouth Medical School created computerized cross-sectional images of breast tissue using three new electromagnetic imaging techniques. Once normal ranges for specific breast characteristics have been established, the next step will be to recognize breast abnormalities, including cancer. Testing is ongoing to find an alternative breast imaging technique that addresses radiation concerns and is more comfortable for patients.

“Once upon a time, a beautiful young princess . . . .” Millions of American children read fairy tales, and these stories carry the message that it pays to be pretty. As reported on, a sociologist at Purdue University and an assistant professor of women’s studies at Western Illinois University found that 94 percent of Grimm’s fairy tales describe physical (female) appearance, and that most of the tales still read today feature beautiful young heroines. The take-away message is that “beauty sells—even when the product is a fairy tale.”

Eating fish may lower a person’s risk of developing age-related macular degeneration. As reported in Family Practice News , 6.5-year follow-up data on patients from the large, randomized Age-Related Eye Disease Study suggest that the risk of macular degeneration is 36 percent lower in persons who eat broiled or baked fish more than once a week compared with persons who ate fish once a month or less. The findings of the follow-up study were presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

The Food and Drug Administration took action against four foreign Internet sites selling counterfeit contraceptive patches that provide no protection against pregnancy. According to the FDA Consumer , these sites (,,, and were selling counterfeit contraceptive patches that were being promoted as Ortho Evra transdermal patches, yet had several cosmetic differences from the FDA-approved patch. The counterfeit product is one and one half inches square instead of one and three-quarter inches square, is made of a brown woven material instead of a thin, beige-colored film, and comes in packaging different from the real product and without identifying information. Other sites also may be selling counterfeit patches.

Many common household items can be dangerous if used by children without proper supervision, according to results from the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) that were published in the American Academy of Pediatrics News. Washing machines, curling irons, jewelry, tap water, and swimming pools can be dangerous for children if not used correctly. According to the CPSC, children younger than five years annually suffer 7,700 burns caused by curling irons and require emergency department treatment. The CPSC also reported that between 1993 and 2000, an estimated 19,109 washing machine–related injuries occurred that involved children under the age of 15.

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