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Jul 02, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- WEB SITES FOR SMOKING CESSATION HAVE DRAWBACKS

Government researchers say an analysis of 30 Web sites designed to help smokers quit shows they have good information but are difficult to use. The sites also contain few indicators of how current or credible the information is, say Julie Cheh and colleagues at the National Cancer Institute. About 40 percent of sites studied featured a search function and only 16 percent displayed a date marking when the site's content was last updated. More than 90 percent of the sites had text written at a grade level above the recommended standard for heath education materials. Less than 19 percent of the sites that made claims about a specific treatment or product supported those claims with references to scientific research or published papers.


Fourth of July fireworks are awesome to watch but a Purdue researcher says do not underestimate the impact on your hearing. Audiologist Robert Novak says it only takes the noise from one nearby fireworks blast -- which can have decibel ranges similar to concerts -- to cause permanent hearing damage. Novak recommends bringing disposable ear plugs to any fireworks show and to use them when noises get so loud a normal conversation is not possible without yelling to someone who is standing less than 3 feet away. Fireworks should be set off in a large, open field to reduce the effect of the blast and anyone setting off fireworks should move as far away from the blast as possible after igniting a device.


Psychotherapy and drug treatments for depression work better for low-income, young, minority women than referrals to community mental health services. That's the conclusion of a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles Neuropsychiatric Institute say when used properly, medications appeared to give better results than psychotherapy, and a combination of medication and psychotherapy worked better than educating the women about depression and referring them to community mental health services. Both medication and psychotherapy reduced the women's depressive symptoms and improved their social functioning.


Pelvic floor exercises can improve incontinence among men who have undergone prostate surgery, says Dr. Sherif Abose of Kaiser Permanente in California. PFEs are much the same as the Kegel exercises women do after childbirth. The Kaiser study finds men who used pelvic floor exercises, with training and coaching, before and after having their prostates removed regained urinary continence more quickly than men who just had the standard post-surgery follow-up. Previous studies of pelvic floor exercise for improving post-prostatectomy incontinence had shown mixed results.


(EDITORS: For more information on WEB SITES, contact Julie Cheh at (301) 496-2150 or e-mail For FIREWORKS, Robert Novak, (765) 494-1534 or, for PSYCHOTHERAPY, the Journal of the American Medical Association, (312) 464-5262 or, and for INCONTINENCE, Laura Marshall at (510) 847-8631)

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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