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Am Fam Physician. 2001;64(7):1135

It is a widely known fact that men and women use different navigational strategies to get to the same place in the real world. However, in the virtual world minor navigational differences are magnified, with the men performing better than women in computer-generated spaces. Research presented at the American Psychological Society's convention showed that women were consistently slower and less accurate when trying to locate objects or move from point to point in virtual environments. Men, on average, traveled 20 percent farther than women in a virtual maze.

Some people worry that their physicians aren't paid enough. Before you smile and say, “Aw, isn't that nice of them,” consider this finding. According to an article in Archives of Internal Medicine, many HMO patients are concerned that the quality of care they receive may be adversely affected by the way their physicians are paid. Following a review approach set forth in the Cochrane Collaboration Handbook, researchers found that 53 percent of patients enrolled in a large New England HMO were worried about the impact of capitation; 25 percent were concerned about fee for service; and 16 percent fretted over the impact that salaried compensation may have on their care.

A prospective study published in Neurology may help children with epilepsy and their parents decrease the medical, social and economic consequences of poorly controlled seizures. Researchers have identified three factors that increase the risk of intractable epilepsy: children with cryptogenic/symptomatic generalized epilepsy, those with initial seizure frequency or seizures more than once a month, and children with slow EEG activity in an area of the brain. Once able to identify these children, neurologists would then be able to determine earlier which children need to be observed and followed more closely and which should receive more aggressive therapy for seizure control.

“As though people suffering from depression or anxiety don't have enough to contend with…” An item published recently in America's Pharmacist indicates that depression and anxiety may contribute to slow wound healing, according to a study conducted in the United Kingdom. In the study of 53 adults with leg wounds, 16 patients were diagnosed with anxiety and another 13 patients with depression. Of the 16 patients with anxiety, 15 experienced delayed wound healing, as did all 13 patients who were diagnosed with depression.

Where do you hang your stethoscope when not in use? If you want to look “cool,” you probably drape it around the back of your neck. If you prefer the traditional style, you hang it from your neck like a pendant. With tongue in cheek, the Canadian Medical Association Journal published a “research” article about the practical impact of the two styles. Their study results show that it takes the average clinician about 3.2 seconds to transfer a stethoscope from the “cool” position to his or her ears, but only 1.9 seconds to transfer from the traditional position. Researchers multiplied the extra time it takes to look “cool” by the number of health care professionals in Canada (about 197,500) and concluded that if 80 percent of them transfer their stethoscope from the “cool” position 20 times per day, at an average hourly rate of $75, the total time wasted costs about $20.5 million per year.

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