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Parents anxious about math can pass that on to their children, University of Chicago psychologist Sian Beilock found. | Sun-Times file photo

Health briefs: Seniors having outpatient surgery need extra care, study finds

SHARE Health briefs: Seniors having outpatient surgery need extra care, study finds
SHARE Health briefs: Seniors having outpatient surgery need extra care, study finds

People over 65 are much likelier than others to require hospitalization within 30 days after outpatient surgery, a Northwestern University study finds.

It’s not because of health complications, the researchers found

“It’s not because they are sicker,” says study author Dr. Gildasio De Oliveira Jr., a Northwestern Memorial Hospital physician who also teaches at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “It’s because they are older and have trouble understanding their discharge instructions and medication dosing, which often are not clearly explained.”

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Dr. Gildasio De Oliveira

The study — published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society — was based on data from 53,667 people who had ambulatory surgery at academic medical centers.

Staff report

Anxious about math? Parents could be to blame

Parents who are anxious about math can pass that anxiety on to their children, according to a study led by two University of Chicago psychologists who say it’s the first research to link kids’ anxiety about math to their parents’.

“Our work suggests that if a parent is walking around saying, ‘Oh, I don’t like math,’ or ‘This stuff makes me nervous,’ kids pick up on this messaging, and it affects their success,” says U. of C. psychologist Sian Beilock, one of the researchers on the study published in the journal Psychological Science.

The study looked at 438 kids in first and second grade along with their parents, who were asked whether they felt anxiety about math and also about how often they helped with math homework. Kids with parents who are anxious about math were likelier to have similar anxieties and to learn less math — but only if their parents often helped with their math homework.

“We can’t just tell parents — especially those who are anxious about math — ‘Get involved,’ ” says lead author Erin A. Maloney. “We need to develop better tools to teach parents how to most effectively help their children with math.”

Staff report

Researchers: Probiotics might help in severe burn cases

The healthy bacteria of probiotics usually are taken to help with digestion, but they also might benefit patients with severe burns, according to Loyola University researchers.

In a study published in the journal PLOS One, they found that people who suffer severe burns experience a big increase in potentially harmful bacteria in the digestive tract and a drop in beneficial bacteria.

They’re not ready to recommend taking probiotics to help with burns, but say their findings suggest that the shift in good vs. bad bacteria might contribute to infectious complications — something that researcher Mashkoor Choudhry plans to study further.

Staff report

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