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HEALTH DIGEST BRIEFS Stress linked to MS

Sources of stress like marital problems and trouble at work may worsen the symptoms of multiple sclerosis, a new study reports.

Writing in the online version of the British medical journal BMJ, researchers said that a review of 14 earlier studies had turned up a "consistent association" between stress and a new onset of symptoms.

Although this may come as little surprise to patients with MS, many doctors have been reluctant to accept the idea, said the lead author of the study, Dr. David C. Mohr, a psychiatrist at the University of California at San Francisco, and a researcher at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Prenatal drug may harm brains

A drug prescribed to prevent premature births may leave children's brains especially vulnerable to the damaging effects of environmental pollutants, a study of the drug in rats suggests.

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Researchers from Duke, writing in Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, said the finding might explain why some children whose mothers were given the drug, terbutaline, had been shown to be at higher risk for learning and behavior problems.

The senior author of the study, Dr. Theodore A. Slotkin, cautioned against overreacting based on tests on animals. Still, he said, "The effects we see are real."

CPR often done incorrectly

Emergency workers sometimes lower the chances that heart attack victims will survive by improperly administering CPR, researchers have reported.

The study, published in the journal Circulation, found that some paramedics were giving too many breaths a minute.

The researchers, led by Dr. Tom P. Aufderheide of the Medical College of Wisconsin, observed paramedics in Milwaukee giving CPR to heart attack patients.

The American Heart Association recommends administering 12 to 15 breaths a minute. In the first seven patients observed, the paramedics gave about 37 breaths a minute, the study found.

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