BMJ 2005; 331 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.331.7522.974 (Published 20 October 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:974

Minerva suspects that most BMJ readers think that our current epidemic of obesity can best be understood as a sociological phenomenon. Many scientists, on the other hand, prefer to make sense of it in terms of the physiology of appetite control. If you can get past the rebarbative nomenclature, an article in Physiological Reviews (2005;85: 1131-58) will bring you up to speed on neuropeptide Y, ghrelin, oxyntomodulin, glucagon-like peptide 1, and the many other hormones that regulate food intake.

Researchers investigating the “ow” factor have found that more than half of young children give spontaneous verbal expressions of pain when immunised. Children aged 4-6 were videotaped as they had their pre-school immunisations. Fifty three per cent of them used verbalisations to express their pain. “The modal verbalisation was the interjection ‘Ow!,’ which expressed negative affect and was specific to the experience of pain,” say the Canadian authors writing in the Clinical Journal of Pain (2005;21: 499-502). Well there's a surprise.

Have you ever talked to patients about their health problems on the phone? It can be fraught with danger, say American researchers (Journal of General and Internal Medicine 2005;20: 959-63). They use six common situations in medicine to highlight …

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