BMJ 1997; 314 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.314.7073.84 (Published 04 January 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:84

Clumsiness in children is treatable. This is the main message of two studies designed to evaluate the effectiveness of the controversial Lazlo kinaesthetic training programme (Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology 1996;38:976-89). Children given the Lazlo treatment improved, but so did those given conventional cognitive training—and both groups did better than the controls, who were given no specific training. The key element seems to be helping the children to believe that they are mastering a skill and so gaining in self confidence.

Christmas seemed to Minerva a good time to read about “uncontrolled buying,” which the American Journal of Psychiatry (1996;153:1524-9) has no doubt is a psychiatric disorder. It was first described by Kraepelin and Bleuler and thought rare, but more recent research reports suggest that in the United States the prevalence of the disorder may be over 1%. In most cases the buying is compensatory and temporarily relieves symptoms of depression.

A review of unconventional therapies for asthma (Allergy 1996;51:761-9) ranges widely and concludes that “there is sufficient evidence to suggest that many of these therapies can produce objective and subjective benefit in selected groups of patients.” More research is needed—but that has been the position for at least 20 years now. In the …

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