Health: Vital Signs

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The Independent Culture
A MILLION children a year are injured in accidents outside the home, but are consistently misinformed about the biggest risks. A survey by the Child Accident Prevention Trust found twice as many children feared an attack from a stranger as were worried about being hit by a car while crossing the road. In 1996 10 children were murdered by a stranger in England and Wales, while 270 were killed and 45,000 injured while crossing the road. Road accidents are the biggest cause of accidental death in children under 15; boys are twice as likely to be injured as girls.

PEOPLE WHO have two or more migraine attacks a month, or less frequent but severe or prolonged attacks, may consider taking preventive treatment, according to the Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin. Preventive drugs include beta-blockers such as propranolol and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories such as aspirin and ibuprofen.

WORRIES ABOUT tight underpants affecting fertility appear to be unfounded. In a US study, 21 men wore biker-style polyester underwear for a year. Tests showed the temperature in the area rose by only one degree - not enough to cause damage to sperm.

HORMONE REPLACEMENT therapy reduces bone loss and the risk of hip fractures. But does the protection last once HRT stops? A study by researchers in Sweden suggests only women currently taking HRT or who have done so within the last five years have the protection. The study, published in the British Medical Journal, also suggests it is never too late to start. Even women who began taking HRT several years after the menopause reaped the benefit.

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