Waiting Time in Hospital ERs Up to Nearly an Hour
The average waiting time to see a doctor in a hospital emergency room increased from approximately 38 minutes to nearly 56 minutes during the past decade, according to new statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Supply and demand has largely driven this increase, as more people seek out emergency care with fewer ERs available, the Associated Press reports. There were about 119 million emergency room visits in the United States in 2006, an increase of 32 percent since 1996. The number of hospital ERs in the U.S. stood at fewer than 4,600 in 2006, down from 4,900 in 1996, the AP reports.
U.S. News's list of Best Hospitals judges hospitals not in routine procedures but in difficult cases across an entire specialty. For a look inside an emergency room, view this photo essay on a day in the life of a triage nurse.
Americans Are Drinking Less Alcohol Than in the Past
Middle-aged Americans are consuming about one-third less alcohol than 50 years ago, according to a new study published in the August issue of the American Journal of Medicine. Americans in all age groups are drinking less beer and more wine, while consumption of hard liquor remains constant. Every four years from 1948 to 2003, researchers interviewed study participants born before 1900 up until 1959, and later their children, about their alcohol consumption. "People drank about a third more back in the '50s and '60s than they did in the '70s up to 2004," lead researcher R. Curtis Ellison told HealthDay. There's been a gradual decrease in the average amount of alcohol people drink. Alcohol consumption among men, for example, has dropped from about two-and-a-half drinks per day to one-and-a-half drinks per day.
Another recent study indicates that excessive drinking boosts the risk for metabolic syndrome. Nancy Shute offered advice in July on how to stop teens from drinking and driving. In April, Sarah Baldauf offered six questions that adolescents have about alcohol and some answers from experts.
Why Parents Should Not Test Kids for Drug Use
At-home drug testing is an increasingly popular practice among parents aiming to stop their child's drug use. Countless test kits are available, but experts say parents should leave drug testing to professionals, Lindsay Lyon reports. The at-home tests can be confusing, costly, and offer up false positives. Additionally, tests are often billed as preventive, but there's no evidence that they actually keep kids away from drugs. The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a 2007 statement opposing home and school drug testing until further research is done.
Lyon also lists five ways teens might cheat on drug tests—and how to catch them.
What Women Think About Lying
The website BettyConfidential.com yesterday released the results of a small, unscientific survey on lying, Deborah Kotz reports. Only 33 women completed the survey, and results show that women lie for various reasons, including to improve a situation or spare someone's feelings. Nearly 1 in 7 respondents said she lies to keep herself out of trouble. When asked why they don't lie more often, nearly three quarters of the women said because "it's the wrong thing to do," though some admitted that it was because they were just too bad at it.
Earlier, Kotz explained why we lie, or rather, fib.
—January W. Payne