Dull Work, Low Pay May

Harm Heart, Study Finds

Dull, steady, unexciting jobs may make the heart beat in an unchanging, rapid rhythm -- which in turn could lead to heart disease, British researchers reported yesterday.

They found that men with "low-grade jobs," who had little control over daily tasks, and men in low social positions had faster and less variable heart rates.

"This finding helps explain why men with low-paying jobs and less education have a higher risk for heart disease, a trend that has been evident for the last 30 years," said Harry Hemingway of University College London Medical School, who led the study.

"The heart doesn't, or shouldn't, beat like a metronome," Hemingway said in a statement. A healthy heart rate varies, he said.

His team studied 2,197 men ages 45 to 68 who worked for the British government. The effect was clear even after taking into account factors such as smoking, poor diet and lack of exercise, they reported in the journal Circulation.

Poor Body Image Linked

To Teen Suicidal Behavior

Suicidal impulses and attempts are much more common in teenagers who think they are too fat or too thin, regardless of how much they actually weigh, a study found.

Using actual body size based on teens' reports of their height and weight, the researchers found that overall, overweight or underweight teens were only slightly more likely than normal-weight teens to have suicidal tendencies.

But teens who perceived themselves at either weight extreme -- very fat or really skinny -- were more than twice as likely as normal-weight teens to attempt or think about suicide.

The study was based on a nationally representative 2001 survey involving 13,601 students in ninth through 12th grade. The findings appear in the June issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, published yesterday.

About 19 percent of respondents said they had considered suicide in the previous year and about 9 percent said they had attempted it, said lead author Danice Eaton, a researcher at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Environmental Groups Seek

Ban on Long-Line Fishing

A coalition of almost 1,000 scientists asked the United Nations yesterday to ban commercial long-line fishing, which the group said annually kills 4.4 million endangered animals, including sea turtles, sharks and whales.

James Donofrio, executive director of the Recreational Fishing Alliance, told reporters in New York that companies that catch tuna using hooks on miles of lines strung by fishing boats in the Pacific Ocean are committing "ecological genocide." He said vessels from 40 nations, led by Japan and Taiwan, place 1.4 billion hooks in the water each year.

The scientists, representing 230 environmental groups, want the U.N. General Assembly to use authority under the Law of the Sea Treaty to adopt a resolution halting long-line fishing for up to 10 years, allowing sea turtles to recover from the brink of extinction. Donofrio said the deaths each year of 60,000 sea turtles could lead to the creatures' disappearance within five years.

Zeke Grader, executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations, representing 25 groups along the U.S. Pacific Coast, said commercial fishermen need time to develop new types of hooks that will not catch sea turtles. He said the industry has been working with environmental groups to adapt their techniques.

-- From News Services