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Health Tips ... from UPI



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Oct 08, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- INACTIVITY CAN BREED FATIGUE

British researchers report children who shun activity are more likely than their sports-minded peers to develop chronic fatigue syndrome later in life. The finding contradicts previous research that pointed to opposite conclusions. Chronic fatigue syndrome or myalgic encephalomyelitis results in persistent, disabling exhaustion. Doctors do not know the exact causes, but past studies have implicated such factors as parental illness, childhood psychological distress, academic ability and high levels of exercise. The new study, of 16,567 babies followed for 30 years, identifies the risk factors as being female, belonging to a high social class as a child and having a long-standing medical condition since childhood. On the other hand, the study shows higher levels of exercise in childhood decrease the risk, said Russell Viner, honorary senior lecturer in adolescent medicine at the Royal Free and University College Medical School in London.

UNITED FRONT URGED IN THE FIGHT AGAINST FAT

Missouri specialists urge a united front by every segment of society to help fight the growing problem of childhood obesity. Ross Brownson, professor and chairman of epidemiology at Saint Louis University School of Public Health, and colleagues are calling on federal, state and local governments, parents and families, schools, the food, beverage and entertainment industries, community organizations and health professionals to work together toward a goal that may take years to achieve. "Because the epidemic has taken years to develop, it will require a sustained commitment of effort and resources for many years -- possibly decades -- to effectively address this problem," Brownson says. "This is a collective responsibility, and we, as a nation, need to provide a healthier environment in which our children can grow up."

SALIVA STICKS TO SUPPLEMENT NEEDLES?

Oregon scientists have hopeful news for needle haters: findings suggest spitting in a cup or licking a stick may one day offer an alternative to drawing blood. The team at the Oregon Health and Science University School of Dentistry in Portland discovered the largest number of proteins to date in human saliva. The finding might lead to a faster, cheaper and potentially safer diagnostic method than blood sampling, says Phillip Wilmarth, author of the study published in the American Chemical Society's Journal of Proteome Research. "There is a growing interest in saliva as a diagnostic fluid, due to its relatively simple and minimally invasive collection," he says. "The same proteins present in blood are also present in saliva from fluid leakage at the gum line." He thinks the alternative will be especially useful for children and elderly patients. Saliva tests will not replace blood tests for all diagnostic applications, Wilmarth says, but they could serve as an alternative to detect diseases where early diagnosis is critical, such as certain cancers.

HOW TO TALK TO YOUR BOSS

A Texas researcher says talking to the boss is a science that needs to include assessing his or her style, experience and personality. You should evaluate how your boss handles stress and processes information, advises Michael Staley, director of biomedical engineering and asset management for Harris County Hospital District in Houston and author of the report published in Biomedical Instrumentation and Technology. If "no" is not an acceptable answer, find ways to back up your position with valid reasoning. If you speak of a plan that is not working, have alternative options ready. Maintain your credibility and integrity. Do the research before making the statement, which may be used as a basis for a company decision, says Staley, who had 12 bosses in 13 years. His other tips: watch your delivery, gearing it to your boss's style, personality and experience; put company interests above your own; understand your role and how it fits into the company's strategic plan; stick to the facts; avoid half-truths or partial information; know what your boss wants, needs and expects; be clear and concise; know when to elaborate; be patient and persistent; be prepared; try to anticipate problems; and remember, timing is everything.

(Editors: For more information about INACTIVITY, contact Emma Dickinson at +44 (0)20 7383 6529 or edickinson@bmj.com. For OBESITY, Nancy Solomon at (314) 977-8017 or solomonn@slu.edu. For SALIVA, Michael Bernstein at (202) 872-6042 or m_bernstein@acs.org. For BOSS, call (713) 746-5400)

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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