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Am Fam Physician. 2004;70(6):1018

Sadly, many of us have been bullied or have witnessed bullying. A new Web site called “Take a Stand, Lend a Hand, Stop Bullying Now!” answers questions about bullying and offers suggestions for ways to prevent it. As reported in FDA Consumer, the site teaches children and adults about bullying with on-screen “webisodes.” Located at, the site was created by the Health Resources and Services Administration.

Common ingredients in over-the-counter cough syrups are no better at suppressing nocturnal cough than placebo, according to a study published in Pediatrics. The study of 100 children aged two to 18 years with upper respiratory tract infections assessed the frequency and severity of nighttime cough, as well as sleep quality for the child and parent. Based on answers recorded on the day of presentation (no medication given the previous evening) and the following day (medication or placebo taken before bedtime), neither diphenhydramine nor dextromethorphan produced a significant benefit compared with placebo.

Does good health lead you to have more sex, or does frequent sex have a positive effect on your overall health? An article published on notes that while researchers aren’t sure which comes first, evidence is mounting that “the more sex you have, the better off you are.” A representative from the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction in Bloomington, Ind., points out the calming effects of the release after orgasm and the positive effects on sleep. A study conducted at the State University of New York in Albany showed that semen may have an antidepressant effect in women. Another study at Rutgers University showed the pain-killing effects of orgasm because of the release of oxytocin and other compounds such as endorphins. Other studies have suggested that sex may protect against cardiac events and stroke, decrease the risk of prostate cancer, increase wound healing, and fight some effects of aging such as vaginal atrophy.

The hospital as a magic kingdom! As reported on USATODAY. com, the Disney Institute has been involved in designing hospitals that focus on the personal needs of patients and their families. At the University of Colorado Hospital’s new Anschutz Inpatient Pavilion in Aurora, patients are treated as guests and given highly personal care. Valet parking is free, and music from a grand piano fills the lobby. All rooms are private and contain a sleeper sofa for visitors, and meals are made to order and delivered as room service. There are computerized systems to prevent medical errors, ensure security, and limit waiting room times. Hospital staff, termed “team members,” have their own “backstage areas”—entrances, walkways, and areas where they can rest and decompress from the stress of their work.

Your patient drank too much alcohol last night? A plant extract might make him or her feel better. A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that an extract from the skin of the prickly pear fruit has a moderate effect on hangover symptoms. The double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial randomly assigned 64 adults aged 21 to 35 years to receive prickly pear extract or placebo five hours before alcohol consumption. The study participants then consumed up to 1.75 g of alcohol per kg of body weight for four hours. The following morning, hangover severity (nine symptoms) was assessed on a seven-point scale, and blood and urine samples were taken. After two weeks, the protocol was repeated, with extract and placebo reversed; 55 volunteers completed both arms of the study. The prickly pear extract was found to significantly reduce three hangover symptoms: nausea, dry mouth, and anorexia. The researchers think that the extract may inhibit the production of inflammatory mediators.

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Copyright © 2004 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.

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