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Am Fam Physician. 2003;68(10):1905

No smoking? No problem! Creating a smoke-free area in bars and restaurants does not result in loss of income, and customers consider it a health-protective measure, according to a survey conducted in five European countries and reported in BMJ. Coordinated by Belgium's National Coalition Against Tobacco, the survey of 1,754 employees, leaseholders, and owners of bars and restaurants found that architectural constraints and lack of demand from customers were the primary reasons for not having a nonsmoking section. Cost was rarely mentioned as a concern, and most staff approve of nonsmoking areas.

Eating Sika deer meat may result in hepatitis E virus (HEV) infection. As reported in a research letter in The Lancet, a 44-year-old man, his father, one of his brothers, and a friend were diagnosed with acute hepatitis within a period of about two weeks. The patients were negative for the serologic markers of hepatitis A, B, and C viruses. However, they were all positive for HEV RNA and for the IgM and IgG antibodies to HEV. During the seven weeks before the patients became ill, they had eaten the uncooked meat of two wild-caught Japanese deer (Sika deer). Some frozen leftover portions of deer meat were tested for HEV RNA; the tests reported identical to nearly identical nucleotide sequencing in HEV RNA from the deer meat and the patients. Family members who ate no deer meat or only a little did not have HEV infection. The researchers suggest that Sika deer meat, especially eaten raw, should be added to the list of foods that increase the risk of catching HEV infection.

Sometimes advertising can work too well. According to a study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, young adults with alcohol abuse or dependence problems may be particularly susceptible to advertisements for alcoholic beverages. During blood oxygen level–dependent functional magnetic imaging, pictures of alcohol and nonalcoholic advertisements were shown to 15 teenagers with alcohol-use disorders and 15 teenagers who were infrequent drinkers. Brain response was greatest in teenagers who reported a stronger desire to drink and who consumed more alcohol per month. The researchers commented that the influence of advertising can be countered by encouraging young persons to evaluate advertisements critically. They also noted the need for research to determine whether cue reactivity can be reduced in teenagers who are being treated for substance abuse disorders, and whether treatment response could be predicted by diminished response to cues.

An end to Montezuma's revenge may be on the way. According to the BBC News, British researchers are working on a new vaccine for traveler's diarrhea. In laboratory tests, the vaccine has been found to protect against enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli, which is responsible for most cases of traveler's diarrhea. Although a vaccine for the illness already exists, it must be taken in two doses. The new, one-dose vaccine is presently given in liquid form but could be developed in an oral form.

A vaccine to prevent cavities could result in “drill-free” childhoods, according to an article published in U.S. News & World Report. The vaccine, given orally or through the nose, would keep Streptococcus mutans, the bacterial species that usually causes cavities, from colonizing teeth. The vaccine would work best in children one to two years of age. Long-term studies must be conducted to determine if immunizations actually prevent cavities.

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