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News Briefs II

Couple in Seventh Heaven

The Baltimore Sun

Looking like a man who may never stop smiling, Kenny McCaughey stood at the altar in his small-town church and described the joy of fathering septuplets - the four boys and three girls who were born Wednesday in a Des Moines hospital.

"This is one of the most blessed events that I have ever encountered," said McCaughey, a 27-year-old billing clerk at a car dealership here. "We're just ecstatic."

While he beamed, the family was promised everything from a new home to a lifetime supply of Pampers. Donations and offers of help rolled into this town of 3,500, located seven miles south of Des Moines. The well-wishers included President Clinton, who congratulated the couple in a telephone call Thursday afternoon.

Earlier, McCaughey reported that his wife, Bobbi, 29, "is doing pretty well" and the seven babies were "very healthy, very good."

Doctors confirmed his observation. All seven babies, whose weights at birth ranged from 3 pounds and 4 ounces to 2 pounds and 5 ounces, were listed in serious condition at Iowa Methodist Medical Center. There are no known sets of surviving septuplets in the world.

Many Devices Aim at Preventing Repetitive Stress Injury

the Washington post

RSI sufferers spend millions of dollars each year searching for ergonomic devices that enable them to work without pain.

The goal is to make computer keyboards, workstations, office chairs and even the mouse and the trackball - devices used to point and click on the computer - more comfortable and hopefully less damaging during repeated use.

Experts say that warm-up and stretching exercises are essential to condition hands, wrists, arms and shoulders as well as the upper back and neck. Among the exercises that can help is making a tepee with your hands by gently pressing fingertips of each hand against each other. Finger curls are another way to stretch tendons. Simply rubbing hands together until palms and fingers heat up, followed by massaging the back of each hand thoroughly can warm up muscles and tendons prior to typing. Also, the computer monitor should be at or slightly below eye level, and elbows and legs should make a 90-degree angle with the body while the hands are on the keyboard.

The seat should not be so long that it digs into the back of the legs, and the chair's height should be adjusted so that the feet can touch the floor without dangling, he said. To help improve posture, slip a board, about three-quarters to one-inch thick, beneath the lowest side of the keyboard. Many experts also favor touch pads instead of the mouse or the trackball, which often promote unnatural gripping actions that can cause injury. New devices are also available to attach the mouse or trackball to the keyboard to ease strain.