A survey of several thousand twins finds there are genetic links to smoking dependence. Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University say each step of the way, from first trying smoking, to becoming a regular tobacco user, genetic factors outweighed environmental ones, such as other smokers in the home. For those just trying tobacco, three-fourths were swayed more by their genes than outside influences and the chance that a smoker would become nicotine dependent weighed more heavily on inherited traits than not.
Researchers may have found a way to control narcolepsy, a condition marked by excessive and uncontrolled sleepiness. Scientists at the University of Texas Southwestern were able to reverse narcolepsy symptoms in mice by introducing a missing brain chemical related to sleep and wakefulness. By injecting orexin, alertness was increased and there were no "rebound" sleep episodes later. Researchers speculate a pill may one day offer the same benefits to narcolepsy patients.
Helping kids with homework is part of the day's routine in many homes, but recent studies suggest too much help results in less success. Researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found when parents are overly involved in a child's homework, the student loses interest in trying. The word from these educators: help your child get to the head of the class by offering ideas, then backing-off and letting your scholar work independently.