Wednesday, August 07, 2002

Body & mind

Taking care of your whole self


        Action: Physicians rarely screen new patients for domestic violence compared to other health problems, but their interventions against abuse tend to be more intensive than against smoking or other hazards, new research says.

        Lead investigator Dr. Barbara Gerbert of the University of California San Francisco found that 19 percent of physicians surveyed reported screening for domestic violence, compared to 98 percent for tobacco use, 90 percent for alcohol abuse and 47 percent for HIV and sexually transmitted diseases.

        But once domestic violence was identified as an issue, doctors acted at the same or greater frequency than with those other health threats.

        Though more doctors felt intervention with smoking, alcohol abuse and STDs was more important than domestic violence (95 percent vs. 86 percent), physicians surveyed said they were more likely to provide counseling, follow-up visits and referrals to other resources for victims of abuse than for patients facing the other three health threats.

        The study appears in the August issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Hot news

        Bone deep: Two percent of college women already have osteoporosis, say researchers at the University of Arkansas, and another 15 percent have lost significant amounts of bone density and could be on their way to developing the disease.

        Researchers led by dietitian Lori Turner collected data on the diet and exercise habits of 164 college-age women and analyzed bone density readings.

        Women who were very thin and who avoided exercise (which strengthens bones) were at the highest risk for bone density loss. And women who had participated in high school and college athletics had the highest bone density levels, researchers found.

        Ms. Turner also found the use of Depo-Provera, a common birth control method that consists of hormone injections every three months, to be associated with significant bone loss, especially with long-term use. Women who use Depo-Provera should be aware of the potential risk and consider having their bone density levels checked.

        The findings also suggest that women begin working to ensure bone health at an early age with regular exercise and calcium-rich diet.


        Mindset: Check out for information, resources and support on a variety of mental health issues. The site includes news updates, books and videos, message boards and a 24-hour online chatroom.

Shelf help

        New edition: The Holistic Pediatrician (Quill/HarperCollins; $18.95) by Dr. Kathi J. Kemper has been revised and updated. The guideline to integrative medicine for children incorporates mainstream and complementary therapies for common childhood ailments, including diaper rashes, ear infections and bedwetting.

        Contact Peggy O'Farrell by phone: 768-8510; fax: 768-8330; e-mail:



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