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August 16th, 2010
06:09 PM ET

Only children as social as their peers

Only children show no sign of any social deficits by the time they reach adolescence, concludes a new study presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association.

Researchers from the Ohio State University analyzed data from more than 13,000 students, from seventh to 12th  grade. Each student was given a roster of all the students at his or her school and asked to circle the names of 10 friends, five male and five female. After calculating how many times each student was selected as being someone's friend, the researchers concluded that only children did not suffer from any lack of social skills when compared with their peers with siblings.

That conclusion contradicts an earlier finding done by the same team in 2004. Back then, Doug Downey, professor of sociology at OSU, and a team of researchers looked at more than 20,000 kindergarten students to see if only children exhibited fewer social skills than their peers with siblings. They used teacher evaluations to conclude that only children had less self-control and fewer interpersonal skills than students with at least one sibling.

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August 16th, 2010
05:41 PM ET

Progress against childhood obesity reported; minorities lag

Obesity rates have started to decline for many teens but continue to increase for some ethnic and racial minorities, according to a new study.

“This is the first time in more than three decades that we’ve seen some progress, but only with some groups,” explained lead author Kristine Madsen, M.D., an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of California San Francisco. The study is published online and will appear in the September issue of Pediatrics.

Madsen’s study examined records from more than 8 million California schoolchildren. California has monitored children's body mass indexes since 2001 by conducting school-based BMI screenings for all fifth-, seventh- and ninth-grade public schoo children as part of a state mandate to assess fitness. BMI measures body fat percentage, using height and weight measurements. Children are considered overweight when their BMI is at the 85th percentile, and obese when they are at or above the 95th percentile.

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August 16th, 2010
04:35 PM ET

What builds more muscles – weight or repetitions?

Straining and groaning under a heavy weight to pump those muscles might be unnecessary, according to a study released from a Canadian university.

While body builders and muscle fanatics may load up their weights, it could be just as useful to use a lighter load, but do more repetitions until the muscle becomes tired, kinesiologists at McMaster University suggested.

The findings are published in PLoS ONE. FULL POST


August 16th, 2010
03:41 PM ET

BP to fund mental health programs in the Gulf

BP announced Monday that it will provide $52 million to fund mental health programs across the Gulf Coast.

The announcement comes after BP was criticized for not responding to the mental health needs of people affected by the oil that began gushing  from the company's rig the Deepwater Horizon in April.

"As part of our determination to make things right for the people of the region, we are providing this assistance now to help make sure individuals who need help know where to turn," said Lamar McKay, president of BP America in a press release.  FULL POST


Firstborns smart, but younger siblings work harder
August 16th, 2010
12:10 PM ET

Firstborns smart, but younger siblings work harder

Competition between siblings can be fierce - from bickering over who gets the last cookie to whom Mom and Dad likes the best.

That competitiveness translates into the academic world, too.

Research presented this month at the American Psychological Association found that firstborns score higher on aptitude tests, yet younger siblings obtain higher grade point averages.

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August 16th, 2010
11:04 AM ET

Journal: Doctors should watch for long-term Gulf illnesses

Doctors need to be on the lookout for a wide range of illnesses related to the Gulf oil spill, ranging from cancers to skin rashes, according to an editorial in today’s Journal of the American Medical Association.

“Clinicians should be aware of toxicity from exposures to oil and related chemicals” and ask patients where they live and whether they’ve been exposed on the job, the JAMA commentary said.

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.

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