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PRACTICING YOUR GOLF SWING COULD LEAD TO REAL HANDICAP

FYI: More interesting things found while looking for something else:

- Golf-related fractures. Hitting buckets of golf balls on the practice range can improve your swing, but it can also lead to stress fractures of the ribs. That is the finding of doctors who examined 19 men and women with such fractures. All but one were beginning golfers who developed upper back pain after several weeks of intensive practice. This sudden increase in activity led to pulled muscles, which put strain on ribs in the upper back. Treatment consisted of six weeks of rest - no golf - followed by strengthening exercises.- Disaster trauma. People living in areas prone to flooding or earthquakes are often faced with repeated episodes of fear, injury and property loss. In a study of 772 male factory workers in an earthquake-prone area of Italy, researchers found that men who had been evacuated or had property damage in an earthquake were still psychologically distressed seven years later. Men who had not experienced such consequences during earthquakes did not have lasting psychological effects.

- Hepatitis. About 700,000 cases of viral hepatitis are reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) each year, but this number represents only a fraction of patients. Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver that produces swelling and tenderness and sometimes results in permanent damage. Most people recover completely from hepatitis A, B, D and E, although flare-ups may occur over a period of months. Hepatitis A is responsible for 70 to 80 deaths each year.

Hepatitis B is the most common form. About 200,000 people contract it each year. It is more infectious than HIV and is transmitted through infected blood and other body fluids. According to the American Liver Foundation, hepatitis A and B can be prevented with vaccines. Currently, no vaccine is available to immunize individuals against hepatitis C or E.

Take every precaution to reduce exposure to blood and body fluids.

- Sprained ankle. Commercially produced ankle braces may be the best way to support an ankle. Researchers at Concordia University in Montreal said that although tape offers the same level of support as ankle braces before an activity, braces provide more support after the activity has started.

- Baking soda danger. A young man consumed two margaritas, one order of nachos and a large Mexican combination plate for dinner. Upon arriving at home, he took a half-teaspoon of baking soda in water and, within one minute, experienced severe abdominal pain. Emergency surgery revealed a ruptured stomach. It was assumed that once the sodium bicarbonate hit the hydrochloric acid in the stomach, the combination of the two produced a carbon dioxide gas that was unable to exit the stomach - hence, the explosion.

- Rescue doctrine. Rescuers who are injured while rescuing a person can sue the person who "created" the risky situation. For example, if you responded to a car fire, you could sue the owner of the car if you were injured during a rescue attempt.

- Early defibrillation. The American Heart Association considers early defibrillation the single most important intervention resuscitation. The logic is simple. Ventricular fibrillation is the most common rhythm in sudden cardiac arrest. Defibrillation is the only means of converting this lethal rhythm back to normal and is the key to saving the lives of cardiac arrest victims. It seems logical that full-time law enforcement officers should be carrying an automated external defibrillator (AED) since they most often arrive well ahead of the ambulance. Learning to use an AED is easier than learning CPR.