Health Buzz: Sleep Breaks for Medical Residents and Other Health News

The need for rest among doctors in training; the power of the teen brain; causes of bad breath

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Report: Hospital Residents Need More Sleep

Residents working in hospitals for the maximum 30-hour shift should get a five-hour break for sleep after working 16 hours, according to a new recommendation from the Institute of Medicine. Five years ago, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education capped the workweek for residents at 80 hours; before that, some residents averaged 110 hours per week, the Associated Press reports. Nationwide, there are about 100,000 medical residents, who spend three to seven years training to work in their respective specialties. The goal in limiting residents' work hours is to balance patient safety with ensuring that the residents receive adequate on-the-job training, the AP says.

U.S. News's Nancy Shute reported on the shortage of primary-care doctors in March. She offers seven tips for finding a doctor.

Deploying the Power of the Teen Brain

Behold the American teenager, a lump in a hoodie who's capable of little more than playing "Grand Theft Auto," raiding the liquor cabinet, and denting the minivan, thanks to a brain so unformed that it's more like a kindergartner's than a grown-up's. That's the message that seemed to emerge from the past decade's neuroscientific discoveries: that the brain, once thought to be virtually complete by age 6, is very much a work in progress during adolescence and not to be trusted. But experts now are realizing that the popular parental response—to coddle teens in an attempt to shield them from every harm—actually may be counterproductive, Nancy Shute reports.

Take a quiz to learn how well you understand the teen brain. In September, Shute listed seven ways teens can learn more without additional studying. In October, she reported that early alcohol use can cause big problems.

Exploring the Causes of Bad Breath

Has a friend or significant other gently hinted that your breath is, um, pungent? Brushing and flossing more diligently may help get rid of halitosis, and U.S. News's Sarah Baldauf offered four steps to fresher breath earlier this year. But a few more minutes at the sink won't always do the trick, experts say. A new exclusive by U.S. News offers eight surprising causes of bad breath, including skipping breakfast, mouth breathing, and drinking alcohol.

Earlier this year, U.S. News offered a guide to a healthy smile, including four critical oral health habits, reports on tooth whitening and 21st century dentistry, and a primer on paying for dental care.

—January W. Payne

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