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HARVARD FACULTY LAUNCHES ONLINE MEDICAL FORUM

The Harvard Medical School this month launched a Web site that offers the faculty's expertise and invites viewers with specific illnesses to interactive forums. Go to http://livingwith.gather.com and click on "Featured Articles" to find the first seven of 35 illnesses to be discussed.

Pardon, your new hip is buzzing

More than half of all orthopedic implants, including 90 percent of total knee replacements and all total hip replacements, were detected by airport metal detectors in a test conducted by orthopedic surgeons. Surgeons from the Harvard Medical School reported that surgical plates, screws, nails and wires were rarely detected, and that cobalt-chromium and titanium implants were much more likely to be detected than stainless steel items. The tests were conducted to help surgeons inform their patients and to alert security agencies.

Not tennis elbow, but smoker's knee

Osteoarthritis of the knee is more painful and more damaging in those who smoke, according to researchers in the United States and the United Kingdom. The study, in Annals of Rheumatic Diseases, supports previous research that shows smokers tend to feel more back pain. The researchers did not provide a cause for the findings.

Out with fat, in with heart health

The American Heart Association's new Face the Fats awareness campaign includes outdoor grilling tips and heart-healthy barbecue recipes. The Web site, AmericanHeart.org/FaceTheFats, also has an easy-to-use calculator for figuring personal daily calorie and fat consumption and tips on reducing caloric intake.

Hospitals are seeking volunteers

Volunteers are needed to provide free van rides for patients and family to Morton Plant Mease Health Care facilities in Pinellas and Pasco counties. These programs provide more than 1,600 rides each month to and from hospitals in Clearwater, Safety Harbor, Dunedin and New Port Richey. Volunteers are also needed for the four hospital gift shops. To become a volunteer, call (727) 734-6262.

Make a list, then tell the doctor

To help patients maximize their doctor's office visit, the U.S. Preventive Medicine company offers these tips: Before the visit, identify primary health concerns, to discuss them. Update the family history of illnesses, because many diseases are hereditary. Include a thorough physical examination. Ask about taking the simple tests for metabolic syndrome, which increases the risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Compiled from Times staff, wires

THE TOLL OF SELF-IMAGE

"The harmful effects (of obesity) extend far beyond physical health . . . body image is more important to (teenage) girls' 'self-concept' than to boys."

Robert Crosnor, sociologist, on a report that obese girls are half as likely to attend college as nonobese girls and are more likely to consider suicide.

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