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Am Fam Physician. 2002;65(5):773

“Hiccup…Boo!” A case report published in Southern Medical Journal shows that lidocaine may be effective in treating chronic, intractable hiccups. A 47-year-old man began having painful hiccups several times a minute after undergoing an exploratory laparotomy. After receiving no relief or only partial relief from several medications, a 100-mg infusion of intravenous lidocaine was administered over 5 minutes. The hiccups diminished, but returned in force. After adjusting the lidocaine dosage, the patient remained hiccup-free and was discharged from the hospital.

A study presented at a meeting of the American Academy of Neurology finds that older women may be helping their minds as well as their bodies when they exercise regularly, reports Family Practice News. Researchers evaluated the effects of exercise on cognitive function in 5,925 women aged 65 and older using a modified version of the Mini-Mental State Examination. They found that over an eight-year period, women who walked the greatest number of blocks per week were less likely to develop cognitive decline than women who walked the least number of blocks.

Misdiagnosis of appendicitis hasn't disappeared with improved diagnostic imaging tools. In fact, in the elderly and in women of reproductive age, it has increased, according to a study published in JAMA. University of Washington researchers reviewed hospital records of 85,790 appendectomy cases in Washington state between 1987 and 1998. In that time, the misdiagnosis rate increased 8 percent yearly in older patients and 1 percent yearly in women of reproductive age.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T… Doctors still have it. According to a nationwide survey published in Engineering Times, doctors ranked first in the “very great prestige” category with 61 percent. This ranking hasn't changed since the previous year. The telephone poll, conducted by Harris Interactive, was a nationwide cross section of 1,017 adults. Teachers ranked second, with 54 percent.

Results of a study published in Pediatrics show that zinc supplementation is associated with lower mortality in infants born small for gestational age (SGA). Zinc deficiency in childhood has been linked with decreased immunocompetence and increased infectious disease morbidity in SGA infants. The study randomly assigned 1,154 full-term SGA infants to one of four groups consisting of: riboflavin; riboflavin and zinc; riboflavin, calcium, phosphorus, folate, and iron; or riboflavin, zinc, calcium, phosphorus, folate, and iron. The children were given 5 mL of their assigned syrup from one to 10 months of age. Of the 20 observed deaths, only five occurred among children in the two zinc-receiving groups.

Teenagers who see multiple images of smoking in films are likely to pick up the habit themselves, according to results of a survey published in BMJ. Researchers at Dartmouth Medical School compiled a list of popular films they had evaluated for tobacco-related scenes and asked nearly 5,000 teenagers to indicate which films they had seen and if they had tried smoking. They found that 31 percent of teenagers who had viewed more than 150 instances of smoking in films had tried cigarettes, compared to 5 percent who had watched fewer than 50 scenes of smoking.

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