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Dec 08, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- OSTEOPOROSIS TOO OFTEN MISSED

Studies show doctors treating older women for fractures often fail to take measures to determine the presence osteoporosis. The bone-thinning condition, which affects 44 million Americans, 68 percent of them women, is implicated in 1.6 million fractures a year in the United States alone, say officials of the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Adrianne Feldstein of Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Ore., reports in The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery doctors treating older women with fractures may not always be following osteoporosis guidelines. These suggest such patients either be treated for osteoporosis or have bone mineral density measurements to determine whether they need treatment. Feldstein advises doctors and patients to take heed of the recommendations.


Communication and flexibility can take the stress out of the busy Christmas season for moms with cancer and their families, researchers say. The hectic holiday pace can be particularly wearing -- emotionally and physically -- for women dealing with breast and gynecologic cancer, they point out. "When Mom Has Cancer: Help and Hope for the Holidays," a program from the Gillette Women's Cancer Connection and Family Circle magazine, offers tips on how to minimize such stress. "Family traditions might have to change a little this year to accommodate how mom is feeling, but open communication and a little flexibility can help make the holidays more enjoyable for everyone." said Dr. Ann Partridge, a breast cancer specialist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. The experts advise: do not try to pretend the cancer does not exist; set realistic expectations, picking one or two things you want to do rather than do the many things you feel you should do; be flexible and do not strive for perfection; lighten up and avoid exhausting yourself; try for something like a potluck where family members and guests contribute a dish; shop online or through catalogs to avoid long lines and traffic; plan an afternoon outing or a weekend getaway; create new traditions to accommodate how you feel; get rest and exercise; ask for help.


Burn center experts caution holiday revelers to take safety precautions using space heaters and electrical appliances to warm and decorate their homes. The researchers note each year patients are hospitalized with burns suffered in house fires caused by space heaters. "So many of these injuries are preventable if simple precautions are taken," said Dr. Richard Gamelli, chief of the Burn Center and the Burn and Shock Trauma Institute Loyola University Health System. Safety tips include: keep space heaters at least 3 feet away from furniture or other combustibles; place heaters on a hard, level surface away from children and pets; turn off the heater when leaving the room; use heaters designed for the intended space to avoid producing indoor pollution; ensure proper ventilation to prevent a buildup of carbon monoxide and other hazardous fumes; place a guard around the heating element; turn heaters off when going to sleep; keep flammable liquids away from heaters; use only vented fuel-fired or electric heaters in mobile homes.


Office parties call for certain decorum even during the festive holiday period, experts advise. They say saying or doing the wrong thing can lead to big career trouble. "Technically, office parties are supposed to be a time to relax with co-workers and superiors," says Barbara Wech, management professor at the University of Alabama, Birmingham. "But just like all other times with your superiors, you're under a microscope if the superior chooses to put you there." Avoid discussing religion or politics, she recommends. Don't press the boss about raises, salaries or Christmas bonuses, she adds. Watch your alcohol consumption, and take a date only if you are told it is appropriate, Wech suggests.

(Editors: For more information about OSTEOPOROSIS, contact Claudette Yasell at (847) 384-4035. For CANCER, Amy Losak at (646) 935-3917. For BURN, Stephen Davidow at (708) 216-8232 or For BEHAVE, Jennifer Park at (205) 934-3888 or

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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