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Teenagers aren't exactly forthcoming when it comes to talking about sex--or very good at avoiding temptation. More than half of adolescents who sign a virginity pledge--vowing not to engage in premarital sex--recant within a year, according to a survey of nearly 14,000 adolescents by the Harvard School of Public Health. Nearly three-fourths of adolescents who broke their vow denied ever pledging to remain abstinent. But progress is still being made. Last week the CDC reported that the teenage birthrate in the U.S. has fallen to the lowest level ever recorded.
Do babies feel antidepressant-withdrawal symptoms? Researchers at the Rabin Medical Center in Israel think they do. A study of 120 newborns found that among those whose mothers took the antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), nearly one-third experienced neonatal-abstinence syndrome--drug withdrawal characterized by such symptoms as tremors, gastrointestinal distress and sleep disturbances. Depression will affect between one-tenth and one-fourth of women and is often exacerbated by pregnancy. Doctors aren't telling severely depressed mothers-to-be to stop taking antidepressants, but they should be aware that doing so poses certain risks for newborns. The researchers recommend that newborns exposed to SSRIs in utero be monitored for at least 48 hours.
Money can't buy happiness, but it can buy health. A Princeton University study found that Americans who make the most money are no happier than those who make less, but a survey of 335,000 Americans published in the New England Journal of Medicine reported that the rich are healthier. Seniors ages 55 to 64 who live below the poverty line were six times as likely to have a long-term condition that severely limits their activity as wealthy Americans of the same age whose earnings were at least seven times as high as the poverty line. In another study, nearly 16% of low-income families included individuals with high levels of an inflammation marker linked to an increased risk of heart attack, compared with only 9% of families living above the poverty line.
Nothing is more refreshing than a good night's sleep. But what really goes on when our head hits the pillow? New studies provide several clues.
We exaggerate Most of us think we are getting more sleep than we actually are. A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology showed that while participants spent an average of 7.5 hr. in bed, they really slept for only 6.1 hr.
We get depressed A study in the Archives of Internal Medicine showed a causal relationship between depression and sleep-related breathing disorders like sleep apnea. Patients with moderate to severe breathing disorders are 2.6 times as likely to become clinically depressed as normal sleepers.
Waking up is hazardous The morning haze you experience when the alarm clock goes off is known as sleep inertia, and it clouds your brain more than sleep deprivation. The impairment is most severe in the first 10 minutes but can linger for up to two hours.