YOUR HOSPITAL EXIT STRATEGY: CHew SOME GUM
Can you chew gum and . . . recover from surgery at the same time? British researchers say it's a great idea for some patients. Chewing stimulates saliva and hormones that may speed the return of normal bowel function, something doctors usually insist upon before releasing surgical patients. Findings: August issue of Archives of Surgery (www.archsurg.com).
Video games: Can't fight 'em? Play 'em
Health researchers are looking at ways that people's obsession with video games might be put to good use. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation will give a dozen research teams up to $200,000 each for studies lasting one to two years (www.healthgames research.org). The projects will measure the effects of playing video games on the young and old to find ways to reinforce healthy behaviors. One project at the University of Florida will monitor how playing PlayStation 2's "Crazy Taxi" affects perception in the elderly; another will investigate the potential for using games such as the Wii to help people recover their motor skills after a stroke.
Slimmer waist, reduced stroke risk
It's known that abdominal fat has a negative bearing on heart disease. What about stroke? The risk for stroke or mini-stroke is four times greater for people with larger waists (about 40 inches or more for men, 35 or more for women) than for those with smaller waists (less than 37 inches for men, less than 31 for women), according to a study in the Aug. 14 online issue of Stroke. The study analyzed data on 1,137 older adults, most in their mid 60s. One caveat: The study did not include data on people's diets, which may have affected their risk of stroke. For more: www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders; www. strokeassociation.org.
Compiled from Times staff, wires