The current Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that physicians would be better doctors--and get more satisfaction from their jobs--if they took acting classes. If they don't have empathy for their patients, at least they can learn to fake it.
•THE HEALTH RISKS OF PRO SOCCER
Professional soccer players have a sixfold greater risk of developing Lou Gehrig's disease, according to an Italian study. Why? Among the theories: too much heading, too many legal--or illegal--drugs, and toxins sprayed on the fields.
•PREVENT CANCER WITH A SNACK?
An apple a day keeps breast cancer away, at least in rats, according to a new study. Eating half a dozen is even better. If you don't like apples, many fruits and vegetables contain the same protective phytochemicals.
•MEDITATION: GOOD FOR THE HEART
Daily meditation, according to a report in the American Journal of Hypertension, lowers blood pressure in African Americans, who are at especially high risk for heart disease.
•MAKEOVER DREAMS VS. REALITY
As much as it may seem that cosmetic surgery among young Americans is at an epidemic level, a poll of 600 female college students by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons shows that while a majority would consider it, only 5% have gone under the knife.
ISN'T EVERYONE JUST TOTALLY INTO MASSAGE THESE DAYS?
Massage therapy is on a roll. A new survey found that 12% of adult Americans got a massage last year, a number destined to go up as the population gets increasingly creaky. Top reasons for the laying on of hands: stress relief (27%), pain relief (27%), relaxation (25%) and injury (11%). Ten percent didn't know why they came.
12 DEADLY DISEASES
Death rates are mostly lower in the latest data from the CDC. Among the top killers:
Heart disease [down] 3.6%
Cancer [down] 2.2%
Stroke [down] 4.6%
Accidents [down] 2.2%
Diabetes [down] 0.8%
Flu/pneumonia [down] 3.1%
Alzheimer's [up] 5.9%
Kidney disease [up] 2.1%
Suicide [down] 3.7%
Chronic liver disease [down] 2.1%
Hypertension [up] 5.7%
Parkinson's disease [up] 3.4%
Funny movies increase healthy blood flow, a new study shows; disturbing ones constrict blood vessels. What's next, [heart] ratings?
FOUND IN THE MEDICAL JOURNALS
Sulfur dioxide from the Kilauea volcano is causing health problems in Hawaii • Smoking-prevention programs in schools have had almost no influence on whether teens light up • The shorter a man's index finger is relative to his ring finger, the more aggressive he is likely to be (this doesn't apply to women) • The fat in avocados helps the body absorb cancer-fighting nutrients