WAKE-UP CALL It's hard enough to remember what to do at 2 a.m. on Oct. 29, when the nation reverts to standard time (hint: "fall back"). But many folks have an even bigger problem. Their internal body rhythm remains so out of synch that for days they experience something akin to jet lag. If this sounds like you, you might try this novel, melatonin-based regimen:
--Starting Friday morning and repeating each day through Monday, take .2 mg of melatonin upon waking and another .2 mg four hours later. (Don't drive if it makes you sleepy.)
--Saturday night, set your clock back one hour but set your alarm to ring one hour later than your normal waking time.
--Sunday, wait at least an hour after rising before going out into daylight. Later, take in half an hour of late-afternoon light. Dr. Alfred Lewy, vice chairman of psychiatry at Oregon Health Sciences University, who devised the regimen, says that by Tuesday you should be sleeping and waking on time--and feeling fine.
PREGNANT PAUSE Doctors in Puerto Rico report that severe morning sickness may be linked to a bacterium known as H. pylori, the same stomach bug that causes ulcers. They found that 89% of pregnant women with intense nausea tested positive for the bacterium, whereas less than 10% of those who never felt sick came up positive. Taking antibiotics during pregnancy is generally a no-no, but women might consider getting screened for H. pylori before trying to conceive.
PREEMIE PROBLEMS Complications from a premature birth don't end when the baby leaves the hospital. Doctors studied 25 eight-year-olds born prematurely and report that key areas of the children's brains--especially those involved in thinking and learning--tended to be smaller than those of youngsters born full term. Kids born as early as 26 weeks had the most serious brain abnormalities--and lowest test scores. Further research is needed to determine whether anything, like special learning exercises, might help.
--By Janice M. Horowitz
Sources: Bad News--American College of Gastroenterology; Journal of the American Medical Association (10/18/00)