Originally created 11/18/99

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Impotent heart?

Impotence may be an early warning of heart disease, scientists say.

Researchers from the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation tested 50 men who had sought prescriptions for Viagra. None of the men had any symptoms of heart disease.

However, after a detailed evaluation, doctors found that 40 percent of the men had "significant blockages" in their arteries that could eventually lead to chest pain and heart attacks.

The same type of plaque that builds up in the blood vessels that supply the heart can also build up in the vessels that supply the penis. But because vessels in the penis are narrower, the scientists suggest that impotence may occur before chest pain.

They discussed their findings last week in Atlanta during the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions.

Internet addictions

Are you addicted to the Internet? If you answer yes to five or more of the following questions you may be hooked, according to Kimberly Young, Center for On-Line Addiction, Bradford, Pa.

Do you feel preoccupied with the Internet (you think about your previous online activity or anticipate your next session)?

Do you feel the need to use the Internet with increasing amounts of time in order to achieve satisfaction?

Have you repeatedly made unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back or stop Internet use?

Do you stay online longer than originally intended?

Have you jeopardized or risked the loss of a significant relationship, job, educational or career opportunity because of the Internet?

Have you lied to family members, therapists or others to conceal the extent of involvement with the Internet?

Do you use the Internet as a way of escaping from problems or of relieving, for example, feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety or depression?

Skinny bones

Although far more women than men suffer from anorexia nervosa, both have an extremely high risk of broken bones if they have the condition, a Mayo Clinic study has found.

A study of 193 women and 15 men diagnosed as anorexic between 1935 and 1989 showed that women had a three-fold increased risk of fractures and men had a 3.4-fold increased risk, Dr. Alexander R. Lucas reported in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Doctors treating anorexic patients should pay special attention to their skeletal health with such treatments as calcium supplements and estrogen replacement therapy, he said.

Pressure injections

Florida researchers have cured high blood pressure in three generations of rats with a single injection of a therapeutic gene.

The scientists, from the University of Florida's College of Medicine, say the new research is proof that an artificially introduced beneficial gene can get passed on from parent to offspring. But they also noted that the notion of changing the genetic makeup of future generations of people raises troubling ethical issues.