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Am Fam Physician. 2006;74(8):1271

Assault by egg? The phrase, “Here’s egg in your face,” takes on a more literal meaning for researchers whose study appears in Emergency Medicine Journal. They evaluated 13 patients who reported eye injuries caused by thrown raw eggs, eight of which were major ocular injuries. One participant was the passenger in a moving car when he was assaulted by an egg; another was hit by an egg thrown from a moving car. All of the eye injuries caused by eggs—many of which occurred around Halloween—were from strangers. Twelve of the 13 patients recovered, but one had permanent vision loss. (Emerg Med J, September 2006)

Bark, sniff, cough, bark! Having a child with asthma and a pet dog probably won’t mix, according to the results of a study published in Environmental Health Perspectives. The study included 3,227 children, 475 of whom had asthma. The children with asthma who had dogs as pets were more likely to have increased bronchial responses to air pollution compared with pet-free children. There also was no increase in symptoms in children with asthma who had only cats as pets; however, asthmatic symptoms were worse in children with both cats and dogs than in children who owned only a dog. (Environ Health Perspect, [published online] August 29, 2006)

It’s a bird, it’s a butterfly—no, it’s a needle! Researchers tested patients’ responses to needles and found that they were less anxious when the shot was administered with a decorated syringe compared with a conventional syringe. The study, which appears in the Journal of Family Practice, examined the reactions of 60 patients exposed to a conventional syringe or one decorated like a butterfly, fish, flower, or one of several other designs. Eighty percent of patients who were given a shot with a conventional syringe experienced moderate to severe aversion; however, when patients were exposed to a decorated syringe, their aversion was reduced by 68 percent. These findings suggest that the decorative design may increase quality of care by making patients feel more relaxed. (J Fam Pract, August 2006)

If you can’t quite put your finger on when you were scheduled to see your dentist for a checkup, you may want to make an appointment at the University of Manitoba’s graduate orthodontic clinic. According to a university press release, patients can use a scanner that reads fingerprints at the front desk to let the orthodontist know that they have arrived for their appointment. Each orthodontic resident’s dental station is equipped with a chair-side computer. If a patient has been waiting for more than 15 minutes, the computers will alert the health care staff. The university estimates that these processes will speed up appointments for the nearly 1,000 patients who visit the orthodontic clinic every year. (University of Manitoba press release, August 31, 2006)

For women who have bulimia, cohabitation may be a therapeutic step forward, notes a study in the International Journal of Eating Disorders. The researchers followed 2,601 initially noncohabitating young women and men for five years. The women with bulimia who moved in with a partner over the course of the study had fewer episodes of the most “socially unacceptable” symptoms, such as bingeing and purging, than women with bulimia who lived alone. The authors stress that cohabitation does not cure the eating disorder. Interestingly, the researchers say that the same results were not seen in men. (Int J Eat Disord, September 2006)

Is watching cartoons a better pain reliever than a mother’s hug? The authors of a study in Archives of Disease in Childhood would say that it is. Researchers observed 69 children who were seven to 12 years of age and who were having blood drawn. In one group, the children were not allowed to have any type of distraction; in another, mothers were allowed to interact with their children; and in the last group, the children watched a television cartoon during the procedure. The children not allowed any distraction had the highest pain scores, followed by the children who were distracted by their mothers. The authors conclude that watching cartoons may have an analgesic effect on children during minor medical procedures. (Arch Dis Child, [published online] August 18, 2006)

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