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Am Fam Physician. 2003;67(12):2458

Oral contraceptive pills (OCPs) may benefit women's voices, according to a small study published in Obstetrics & Gynecology. Researchers compared the voice stability (frequency and amplitude variations) of six OCP users and six non-OCP users and found that the women who were taking low-dose OCPs had better voice quality than those who were not taking the pill. Past reports had shown that high-dose OCPs negatively affect the female voice, an association that was attributed to the androgenic effect of progesterone derivatives. Today's low-dose OCPs cause fewer androgenic effects.

When a cough defies diagnosis, think about an isolated cough tic. In a case report published in The Lancet, a 15-year-old boy presented with a two-year history of barking cough that was so disruptive it kept him from going to school. Diagnoses of asthma and rhinitis had been made, but treatments were unsuccessful. A family history of obsessive-compulsive disorder and the unusual nature of the cough (not present when he was asleep and accompanied by forward tilting of torso and covering of the upper lip with a hand) suggested that the boy had an isolated cough tic. After the boy's QT interval was determined to be normal, he was treated with 2 mg of pimozide per day, and the cough ceased. A recurrence one month later responded to treatment. At follow-up, the boy was free of cough and able to return to school. The authors of the case report noted that because pimozide may prolong the QT interval, other neuroleptic drugs should be used for maintenance therapy in children with tic disorders.

Doctors remain the most trusted professionals, reports a news brief in BMJ. According to an annual poll conducted by MORI, a London-based international research company, 90 percent of the British public approve of the way doctors do their jobs. Doctors are trusted to tell the truth by 91 percent of the public, compared with 72 percent for judges, 74 percent for professors, and 87 percent for teachers.

Stress relief for kids? Just say “Om.” The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that parents are turning to yoga to help their children relax and cope with the stresses of their increasingly busy schedules. Children in yoga classes, at yoga camps, and even at yoga-themed birthday parties are practicing animal poses, stretching, and learning to meditate. Although the American Academy of Pediatrics notes that no data show negative effects of yoga on children, the Web site of the American Yoga Association states that children younger than 16 years should not do yoga, because some postures may harm the glandular system and the natural growth process.

Go ahead, guys—let women see you sweat—and let them touch it, and smell it, too. As reported on the CNN Web site, biologists have found that substances in male sweat can reduce stress, induce relaxation, and affect the menstrual cycle in women. In a study funded by the National Institutes of Health and published in the journal Biology of Reproduction, scientists collected sweat samples from men'underarms, then blended and applied the sweat to the upper lips of 18 women 25 to 45 years of age. The women reported feeling less tense, and their blood tests showed increases in reproductive luteinizing hormone levels. The researchers noted that if the active agent in male perspiration can be isolated, it might lead to new treatments for premenstrual syndrome and infertility.

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