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Health Beat

• Men and women alike enjoy a good cup of coffee in the morning, especially at the workplace. But, according to a study from Bristol University, women respond better to caffeine under high-stress situations than men. When presented with memory tests and puzzles, women drinking caffeinated coffee completed the tasks an average 100 seconds faster than women drinking decaf; contrarily, the caffeinated men finished their puzzles 20 seconds slower than the men drinking decaffeinated coffee.

• The American Stroke Association recently revealed that the rate of strokes is rising dramatically among young and middle-aged Americans but falling among older Americans. The steepest increase was among men age 15 to 34, with a rise of 51 percent in the last decade. Strokes are more common in young people with risk factors such as smoking, alcohol abuse, diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure.

• HealthGrades recently named both Ochsner Medical Center and its West Bank Campus “Distinguished Hospitals for Clinical Excellence,” which, according to the study, places Ochsner in the top five percent of hospitals nationwide for clinical performance. Around 250 hospitals out of the 5,000 studied received the title. (New Orleans Magazine published a full list in February 2011.)

• The Department of Health and Human Services Office of Adolescent Health recently awarded Louisiana a $30 million grant to fund adolescent health education and teen pregnancy prevention programs. Recipients include Tulane University and the Louisiana Public Health Institute.

• Researchers in Italy have developed implants, inspired by the shape of bucatini spaghetti noodles, designed to help spinal cords regrow. The implants were tested on rats with spinal cord injuries; many recovered the mobility in their hind legs, leading researchers to hope that the procedure could help paraplegics or those suffering from paralysis.

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