More education hard on the eyes
Can too much studying ruin your eyesight? Maybe. A German study has found that the more education a person has, the greater the likelihood that he will be nearsighted.
The researchers did ophthalmological and physical examinations on 4,685 people ages 35 to 74. About 38 percent were nearsighted. But of those who graduated after 13 years in the three-tiered German secondary school system, about 60.3 percent were nearsighted, compared with 41.6 percent of those who graduated after 10 years, 27.2 percent of those who graduated after nine years and 26.9 percent of those who never graduated.
The percentage of myopic people was also higher among university graduates than among graduates of vocational schools or those who had no professional training. The study was published online in Ophthalmology.
The association remained after adjusting for age, gender and many known myopia-associated variations in DNA sequences.
“The effect on myopia of the genetic variations is much less than the effect of education,” said the lead author, Dr. Alireza Mirshahi, an ophthalmologist at the University Medical Center in Mainz. “We used to think that myopia was predetermined by genetics. This is one proof that environmental factors have a much higher effect than we thought.”
- NICHOLAS BAKALAR
Careful of weekend ER visits
A new study suggests that emergency surgery done on children during the weekend results in more complications and deaths than similar surgery done during the week.
The study, published in the July issue of The Journal of Pediatric Surgery, used a large national database to match 112,064 weekend operations on children younger than 18 with 327,393 operations performed on weekdays. The selected operations were performed on the day of admission and the procedures performed - appendectomies, brain shunts, hernias, bone fractures and abscess drainage procedures - were coded as emergencies in the database.
Only about 1 percent of cases had complications, and less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the children died. But even after controlling for sex, age, race, the type of surgery and other factors, patients having a procedure on the weekend were 40 percent more likely to suffer an accidental puncture or cut, 14 percent more likely to receive a transfusion, and 63 percent more likely to die.
The lead author, Dr. Seth D. Goldstein, a surgical resident at Johns Hopkins, said that even though mortality was quite low, if weekend treatment had matched weekday treatment over the 20-year period of the study, about 50 deaths would have been prevented.
- NICHOLAS BAKALAR
BC-SCI-THOUGHT-SHOCK:LA - national itop (750 words),0777<\n>Study: Left alone with their thoughts, people choose electric shock<\n>(HAS TRIM)