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Life in Brief — week of Aug. 4

Study finds cities are

safer than rural areas

If you want to avoid death by injury, live in a large city — a new study has found that they are much safer than rural areas.

Researchers analyzed 1.3 million injury deaths in more than 3,000 counties nationwide from 1999 through 2006. They classified the counties on a 10-point urban-rural scale that distinguished counties both by population density and by proximity to metropolitan centers. The study was published online in the Annals of Emergency Medicine.

Injury death rates increased steadily as counties became more rural, to 73.76 per 100,000 population in the most rural counties compared with 49.72 in the most urban.

The most common causes of injury death overall were car crashes and gunshots, both of which increased as counties became more rural. Death in car accidents was almost three times as frequent in rural areas as in cities. But the risk for poisoning and fall-related injury death were lower in rural counties, and the risk for homicide was higher in urban centers.

“I hope that people begin to challenge the beliefs they hold about safety,” said the lead author, Dr. Sage R. Myers, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania.

— Nicholas Bakalar

New York Times

Hints from Heloise:

Foam boards can block sunlight into basement

Gail M. in Washington, D.C., writes: Here’s a simple, inexpensive way to help keep your basement cool during the summer. Buy white foam poster boards (available at office-supply stores). Set them on the inside window ledge, propped against the windows that get direct sunlight. They block the heat from the sun, while letting in enough light to see by. They can easily be taken down and put back up as desired.

— King Features

Questions to ask during summer visits to colleges

Visiting colleges over the summer, while not ideal, is far better than not visiting at all. Come armed with questions, such as:

• Are freshmen integrated with upperclassmen or do they live separately?

• What percentage of sophomores/juniors/seniors live on campus?

• What is the average rent for off-campus housing? How close to campus is it?

• How many dining halls are there? What meal plan choices exist?

• Can you live off campus and still purchase a partial meal plan?

• What is the average size of freshmen introductory classes (biology, English, psychology)?

• Are there weekly recitation/breakout sessions with a professor or teaching assistant?

• How likely is it that a freshman will receive his first choice of classes? (Ask the tour guide, not the admissions representative.)

• How often do students meet with their advisers? What is required? What is the norm?

• How easy/difficult is it to switch majors?

• What clubs and activities are the most popular?

• How big a role does Greek life play?

• How often do students go away or go home on weekends?

• Is there enough activity on weekends to keep students engaged?

• How big a presence is sports? What kind of support do the sports teams receive from the students?

— Lee Bierer

McClatchy Newspapers



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