Pap smears, broken hearts and preschool

August 18, 2011 1:51:19 PM PDT
Women usually dread the visit to the gynecologist, but the annual exam is so important. However, there is one test you may getting more often than you really need - the pap smear, the test your gynecologist performs to look for cervical cancer.

A new study in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology finds that most doctors still recommend it every year. However, that may not be necessary.

Current guidelines say that if you are over 30 and healthy, and your pap test was normal for 3 years in a row, you can wait 3 years before having another one.

Preschool Benefits

New research shows that what kids learn early in life really does have lasting effects.

Education experts from Vanderbilt University videotaped preschool classrooms, and followed the kids for about 5 years.

When preschool teachers used sophisticated language during conversations with the kids, and when they encouraged group book reading and discussions afterwards, the children had better vocabularies and better reading comprehension when they reached the 4th grade.

Fixing broken hearts

Soon, scientists will be able to fix a broken heart - literally!

Using stem cells, researchers in the US and Hong Kong have already been able to create heart muscle. Now they're working on creating other parts of the heart - including the electrical cells.

One day, this could be used to correct an irregular heart beat or arrhythmia, which will eliminate the need for pacemakers.

That research team plans to test it out in pigs first. If this is successful, they say the first trial in humans could be in about 5 years.