DOCTORS LIKE CHECKUPS Even though experts have thrown cold water on the universal need for an annual checkup, many doctors continue to perform them.

A survey of 783 doctors, published last week in the Archives of Internal Medicine, found that nearly nine of 10 primary care doctors conduct annual physicals.

The exams have been debated at least since the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force declared nine years ago there was insufficient evidence of benefit from many of the tests used in the checkups. The task force doesn't support or oppose annual physicals; neither does the American Medical Association.

TEEN MISBEHAVIOR: THIS WON'T END WELL Teens who smoke, drink, use drugs and engage in other risky behavior are more likely to struggle as adults, according to new findings in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Kids with problem behaviors before age 15 were particularly at risk. Ninety percent of men and 60 percent of women reporting at least four problem behaviors before 15 abused drugs, alcohol or nicotine as adults.

Study author Matt McGue of the University of Minnesota noted that teens who act out may "change the course of their development" by associating with "deviant peers" and becoming less connected to schools, parents, religious groups and other helpful networks. Others may inherit an "impulsive personality style," and ignore long-term consequences as kids and adults.

McGue says experimenting with drugs, alcohol and sex may be less benign than some believe and advises early intervention to thwart serious consequences.

-- From News Services