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Am Fam Physician. 2002;66(8):1391

“To err is human…” Obtaining timely and accurate information from patients may be difficult if paper diaries are used, reveals a study published in BMJ. Researchers gave 80 patients with chronic pain either a handheld computer or a paper diary and asked them to answer questions about their symptoms at certain times during the day. Paper diaries were secretly equipped with electronic “spies” that recorded the time each entry was made. Study results showed that although a 90 percent compliance rate was reported by the paper diarists, in reality, only 11 percent completed their diary entries within a time range determined acceptable by researchers. By comparison, electronic diaries had an actual compliance rate of 94 percent.

Have milk, will travel. According to Internal Medicine News, relief from traveler's diarrhea could be found in the equivalent of three cups of milk. Presented at Digestive Disease Week, results from the study of 32 men showed that after being infected with enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli, participants who received a diet laden with milk products had only one day of diarrhea compared with those on a low-calcium diet, who were ill for two days. Calcium may have promoted a more competitive environment for the E. coli in the gut by increasing populations of lactobacilli.

A buffet experiment described in Nature may help you fight the urge to eat all that you can eat. Volunteers helped themselves to one third less food from an all-you-can-eat buffet after being injected with PYY3–36, a hormone made by the bowel when it is filled with food. Researchers propose that PYY3–36 then travels to the hypothalamus, shutting down the nerves that trigger eating. A dose of the hormone equivalent to that released during a big meal has been shown to suppress the appetite in mice and humans for up to 12 hours.

People diagnosed with depression may be more likely to develop Parkinson's disease, according to a study published in Neurology. The retrospective cohort study conducted in the Netherlands compared the incidence of Parkinson's disease in 1,358 persons diagnosed with depression during a 15-year period with 67,570 never-depressed persons who were born in the same year. At the end of the 25-year follow-up period, researchers found that depressed persons were three times more likely to develop Parkinson's disease than those who were not depressed.

Is someone's snoring keeping you up at night? According to Newsweek, one half of men and one quarter of women over the age of 50 snore, so you aren't alone. The incidence of snoring increases with age, weight gain, and loss of muscle. Although there are devices and surgical procedures that can quiet a chronic snorer, weight loss is a less invasive and still effective alternative.

From an unusual case comes a cautionary tale about the dangers of wound licking. According to a case report published in the New England Journal of Medicine, a 42-year-old man developed necrotizing fasciitis after licking a thumb laceration. Three days after the incident, the man, who had type 1 diabetes mellitus, was admitted to the hospital with fever, pain, swelling at the site of injury, leukocytosis, and a high serum glucose level. Although surgery and treatment with intravenous antibiotics quickly controlled the infection, his distal phalanx later required amputation. An aerobic bacterial culture taken from the wound revealed numerous microorganisms normally found in the oropharynx, confirming that wound licking had occurred.

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