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Am Fam Physician. 2003;67(7):1429

If your patients don't like shots, they can join the Congregation of Universal Wisdom. As reported in an article published in The New York Times, members of the Congregation are not allowed to have any foreign materials of unhealthy or unnatural composition injected, ingested, or infused into the body, or to have surgical instruments cut or pierce the body. To receive a membership certificate, people have to pay at least $1 of the $75 “customary donation” and affirm that they “will aspire to live by” the tenets of the religious order. Founded in 1975, the Congregation claims 5,520 members in 28 states, mostly families who want to avoid vaccination.

Advertisements that promote smoking may be lurking in your waiting room, according to a Cleveland Clinic Foundation survey reported in Internal Medicine News. Of 18 internal medicine and pediatric offices surveyed, 16 had magazines that contained pro-tobacco advertisements. Only 20 percent of physicians in those offices realized that cigarette advertisements were in their waiting rooms.

Emergency surgery, unplanned changes in surgical procedure, and higher body mass index can increase the risk of foreign-body retention after surgery, according to a case-control study published in New England Journal of Medicine. The study included 54 patients with a total of 61 retained foreign bodies, and 235 control patients. Reoperation was necessary in 37 (69 percent) of the patients with a retained foreign body, and one patient died. An emergency operation increased a patient's chance of retaining a foreign body by 33 percent, while an unexpected change in surgical procedure increased the risk by 34 percent. In one third of cases, there was no documentation of sponge and instrument counts.

Women: Say farewell to your monthly visitor. A new version of the birth control pill could reduce the number of periods a woman has every year from 13 to four, according to an article in Newsweek. For years doctors have prescribed menstrual suppression, off-label, to treat endometriosis, menstrual migraines, and PMS. Submitted for U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval, Seasonale contains the same ingredients as conventional birth control pills but would be packaged as 84 active pills in a row, followed by seven placebo pills, instead of the traditional 21/7 regimen. Many doctors believe that reducing the number of periods per year could be healthy. Amen…

Little League Baseball Incorporated had 1,890 ball-related injury claims filed against it for the 1997–1999 regular seasons. According to a study published in JAMA, ball-related injuries could be reduced by 28 percent if the league used a reduced-impact ball. This ball looks and plays like a regular baseball but has a polyurethane core that lowers the force of impact transmitted to a player.

Dads may need to practice “coochy-cooing.” According to study results published in New Scientist, women may be better at talking to babies than men. Researchers used a computer program to analyze the acoustic properties (e.g., rhythm, pitch, stress) of the voices of six sets of parents who were recorded while playing with their infants. The program distinguished between approving and disapproving comments 80 percent of the time; however, it correctly identified 12 percent more of the mothers' statements, suggesting that women use less ambiguous sounds than men when they baby talk.

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