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May 26, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- STUDY TIES SWITCHING SCHOOLS TO BAD BEHAVIOR

Children who change schools often are more likely than those who stay put to have behavioral problems, pediatricians report. The study by researchers at the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, reported at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies in Seattle, shows a link between moving from school to school and disobedience, impulsiveness and having trouble getting along with other children. The problems persisted regardless of race, amount of income or mother's educational level, the authors said. "Transitions can be so disruptive to children that parents need to weigh the potential academic benefit they may get versus the academic, social and emotional impact of making the transition," said Dr. Mona Mansour, pediatrician and lead study author. Her study involved 3,285 children between the ages of 5 and 14. Children were considered "school mobile" if they were 5 to 9 and attended two or more elementary schools or 9.1 to 14 and had attended three or more schools. "While the nature of the data doesn't allow us to say school mobility causes behavioral problems, the two are clearly linked and have implications for both health care providers and educators," Mansour said.


British doctors say smoking cannabis may be dangerous to one's health. Writing in the British Medical Journal, the researchers from Imperial College London and St. Mary's Hospital say smoking pot could be responsible for up to 30,000 deaths in Britain alone. The researchers calculate if 120,000 deaths are caused among 13 million smokers, the corresponding figure among 3.2 million cannabis smokers would be 30,000, assuming that their health effects are the same. Researchers said currently there is little evidence of harm from cannabis to the heart or lungs, but they cautioned users not to assume the drug is harmless. Study author John Henry of Imperial College London said: "Even if the number of deaths attributable to cannabis smoking turned out to be a fraction of the 30,000 we believe could be possible, cannabis smoking would still be described as a major health hazard. If we also add in the likely mental health burden to that of medical illnesses and premature death, the potential effects of cannabis cannot be ignored." Although previous studies have linked cannabis to increased risk of mental disorders, the drug also could affect the respiratory system, said Dr. William Oldfield of St Mary's Hospital. "Cannabis and nicotine cigarettes have a very different mode of inhalation, with cannabis smokers taking a two-thirds larger puff volume, a third larger inhalation and holding the smoke down four times as long," he said. "These could all contribute to illnesses of the heart and respiratory system, particularly as the chemicals in cannabis smoke are retained to a much higher degree."


Songs with violent lyrics increase aggressive thoughts and emotions, says an American Psychological Association study. The findings, appearing in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, contradict popular notions of positive catharsis or venting effects of listening to angry, violent music on violent thoughts and feelings. In five experiments involving more than 500 college students, researchers from Iowa State University and the Texas Department of Human Services examined the effects of seven violent songs by seven artists and eight nonviolent songs by seven artists. The students listened to the songs and were given various psychological tasks to measure aggressive thoughts and feelings. The violent songs increased feelings of hostility without provocation or threat, and this effect was not the result of differences in musical style, specific performing artist or arousal properties of the songs, the study authors said. Even the humorous violent songs increased aggressive thoughts, they said.


Lettuce grown in the fall and winter in Southern California or Arizona may contain higher levels of toxic rocket fuel than is considered safe, scientists say. The laboratory analysis of lettuce, commissioned by the Environmental Working Group, was the first such test that focused on perchlorate in supermarket produce, researchers said. They said 18 percent of lettuce samples contained detectable levels of perchlorate, and an average serving of contaminated lettuce contained four times more perchlorate than the Environmental Protection Agency considers safe in drinking water. "Our findings and the earlier tests show that toxic rocket fuel is not just a regional problem in areas where drinking water is contaminated, but a national concern for everyone who eats winter lettuce," said Renee Sharp, a senior analyst in EWG's California office and co-author of the report. "To protect people from perchlorate not just in water but food, safety standards will have to be much tougher than what's currently proposed." Perchlorate, the explosive component of rocket and missile fuel, can affect the thyroid glands ability to make essential hormones, Sharp said.

(EDITORS: For more information about SCHOOL, call 513-636-4656; about POT, contact Emma Dickinson at +44 (0)20 7383 6529 or; about VIOLENT, contact David Partenheimer at 202-336-5706 or; about SALADS, call 510-444-0973.)

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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