Vital Statistics

January 30, 2012

Study: Doctor’s weight may influence obesity diagnosis

A survey of 500 primary care physicians around the country reveals that doctors considered overweight or obese were much less likely to diagnose obese patients than physicians at a more “normal” weight.

Doctors with a normal BMI (18.5-25) were more likely to discuss weight loss with obese patients (30% vs 18%), give advice on diet (53% vs 37%), and exercise (56% vs 38%). The study, published in Obesity, also revealed that the probability of normal BMI physicians recording an obesity diagnosis for a patient was 93 percent and only 7 percent for overweight or obese doctors.

High heels may cause muscle damage

A study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology finds that wearing high heels may lead to damage of the calf muscles.

The study included women, teens to early 30s, who had worn high heels for at least 40 hours a week for a minimum of two years. The control group consisted of women who rarely or never wore heels. The research team used ultrasound probes, electrodes, and motion-capture markers to monitor the participants as they walked barefoot and then in heels down a 26 ft long walkway.

The findings suggest that women in high heels walked with shorter and more forceful strides (even in bare feet), engaging their muscles instead of their tendons, potentially leaving them more vulnerable to injury and muscle fatigue.

People may fib more when texting

New research published in the Journal of Business Ethics shows that people may lie more frequently when text messaging.

Participants consisted of 170 business students conducting fake stock trades in person, by video, or through text.  Once trades were completed, the buyers were asked if their brokers had engaged in any deceit. After examining which brokers were considered liars, the researchers examined which form of communication was used to make the trade.

It was revealed that buyers who received information through text messages were 95 percent more likely to report a deception than if they had communicated through video. They were also 31 percent more likely to report that they were deceived than those who made the transaction face-to-face and 18 percent more likely than those who had an audio chat.

The researchers note that texting involves less scrutiny than communication methods such as video, where participants may suffer from “spotlight effect”.


Death by headphones

January 18, 2012

Researchers from University of Maryland School of Medicine and The University of Maryland Medical Center find that as use of mobile devices increase, so does the risk of injury from distraction and blocking out other sounds.

The research team studied case reports from databases, such as the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, for pedestrian injuries or fatalities from crashes involving trains or motor vehicles between 2004 and 2011. From there, cases involving headphone use were summarized.

From 2004 to 2011, 116 accident cases were reviewed in which pedestrians were reported to be wearing headphones. The analysis found that 70 percent of the 116 accidents resulted in death to the pedestrian. Science Daily reports that more than two thirds of the victims were male (68%) and under 30 years old (67%).

55 percent of the vehicles involved were trains and almost 29 percent of the vehicles reported sounding a warning horn prior to the crash. The researchers noted that distraction and sensory deprivation are the two phenomena likely to be associated with these incidents.

WebMD reports that the number of injuries corresponds to the rising popularity of iPods and other MP3 devices. Between 2004 and 2005, 16 injuries had been reported, and by 2010 to 2011, the number had jumped to 47.

Dr. Richard Lichenstein, lead study author and director of pediatric emergency medicine at the University of Maryland Medical Center, says:

“Everybody is aware of the risk of cell phones and texting in automobiles, but I see more and more teens distracted with the latest devices and headphones in their ears…Unfortunately as we make more and more enticing devices, the risk of injury from distraction and blocking out other sounds increases.”

The study is published in the journal Injury Prevention.


Is your degree paying off?

January 6, 2012

A new report released by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce finds that the risk of unemployment for recent graduates varies considerably depending on major.

The Washington Post reports that those with the highest rates of unemployment had degrees in:

  1. architecture (13.9%)
  2. the arts (11.1%)
  3. the humanities (9.4%)

Those with the lowest rates of unemployment had degrees in:

  1. health (5.4%)
  2. education (5.4%)
  3. agriculture and natural resources ( 7%)

The report points out that business majors also have relatively low unemployment rates (7.4%), except for those who have a focus in Hospitality Management (9.1%) due to the ongoing decline in the travel and tourism industry. Engineering graduates are also faring rather well, except for Civil and Mechanical Engineers who have been impacted from the decline in manufacturing and construction.

For the most part, majors that are more closely aligned with particular occupations and industries, such as healthcare and education, tend to experience lower unemployment rates.

To read the full report, click here.


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