Am Fam Physician. 2007 Jul 1;76(1):23.
A SHORT WALK TO QUIT SMOKING
Will a short walk help curb your patients' nicotine cravings? Study results published in Addiction suggest that it could. The authors of the study reviewed 12 articles showing that exercising for five minutes or more may reduce cigarette cravings. Brisk walking was also shown to reduce withdrawal symptoms such as stress, anxiety, and poor concentration. The authors note that distraction from the cravings was probably not the primary reason for the effects of the exercise. Additionally, walking helps to prevent weight gain in patients who want to quit smoking. (Addiction, April 2007)
WOMEN WHO DENY OR HIDE PREGNANCY OFTEN LACK NEEDED PSYCHIATRIC HELP
Although women who deny or conceal a pregnancy often take responsibility for their child after giving birth, they are not likely to receive the psychiatric treatment they need, according to research published in Psychosomatics. The authors retrospectively reviewed the medical records of all women who gave birth at their institution during the study period. Of the 211 women who had received no prenatal care, 81 met criteria for denial or concealment of pregnancy and were included in the study. Only four of these women had received psychiatric care, although nine had a documented mood disorder. The number of women who deny or conceal pregnancy is relatively low (approximately 0.26 percent of all pregnant women), but the prevalence is likely higher because some of these women never present to a hospital. (Psychosomatics, April 2007)
PLASTIC CLOGS DISRUPT FUNCTION OF MEDICAL EQUIPMENT
Crocs, a brand of the popular plastic clogs known for comfort and shock absorption, may be banned in a hospital in Sweden. Especially popular among health care professionals, the slip-on shoes have been blamed for generating a cloud of static electricity that can knock out medical equipment, including respirators and other machines. Although the three incidents reported did not cause any injuries, hospital authorities still may ban the clogs in certain sections of the facility. The company that imports Crocs to Sweden is performing tests to determine whether the shoes pose a threat. (Guardian Unlimited, April 19, 2007)
RESIDENTS OF DENSELY POPULATED AREAS ARE LESS LIKELY TO BE OVERWEIGHT
People who live in pedestrian-friendly, densely populated areas of New York City tend to have a lower body mass index (BMI) than people who live in other areas of the city. In a study appearing in the American Journal of Health Promotion, researchers enrolled 13,102 adults living in New York City's five boroughs. After determining participants' BMIs, their proximity to commercial goods and services, and access to public transportation, the researchers discovered that three characteristics of the environment (living in mixed residential and commercial areas, living near bus or subway stops, and living in densely populated areas) were inversely related to BMI measurements. People who lived in areas with a balance of residential and commercial areas had significantly lower BMIs compared with those who lived in heavily residential or commercial areas. Living in balanced areas may promote walking because most places people need to go (e.g., the grocery store) are within walking distance. (Am J Health Promot, March/April 2007)
ARE TOO MANY PATIENTS BEING DIAGNOSED WITH DEPRESSION?
More than 30 million Americans will have depression at some point in their lives, but a study from a researcher at Columbia University, New York, N.Y., suggests that one out of four of those people may be wrongly diagnosed with depression; instead, they may be reacting to one of life's hardships (e.g., divorce, death of a spouse). A commonly used checklist from the American Psychiatric Association asks patients whether they experience symptoms such as fatigue, guilt, loss of appetite, trouble sleeping, lack of concentration, and suicidal thoughts to determine whether they have clinical depression. If patients have five or more symptoms, the diagnosis is confirmed, but life's hardships are rarely taken into account when a patient's mental health is evaluated. Some physicians have argued that the undertreatment of depression is a bigger problem than overtreatment, whereas others have said that a diagnosis of depression is too important to get wrong. (ABC News, April 3, 2007)
Copyright © 2007 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.
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