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BMJ 1999; 318 doi: (Published 15 May 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:1362

The home advantage in football matches is an unorthodox subject for a letter to the Lancet (1999;353:1416) but it probably attracted more readers than the whole of the rest of the journal. Two sports scientists from Liverpool reported a small study showing that the roar of the crowd influences the referee's decision in favour of the home team. Observers judging video clips of play were more likely to award a foul against the away player if the crowd noise was on in the background. The effect disappeared when the crowd noise was turned off.

A randomised trial of laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication finds, once again, that laparoscopic surgery takes a little longer than open surgery but causes less pain and disruption to patients' lives (Journal of the American College of Surgery 1999;188;368-76). This report also shows that laparoscopic surgery can be cheaper. Hospital costs for both techniques were comparable between groups—about $3000—but overall costs were substantially lower in the laparoscopic group because patients returned to work more than three weeks earlier than controls.

Cisapride is supposed to speed up sluggish gastric emptying and reduce gastro-oesophageal reflux, but a rare randomised crossover trial in 10 preterm infants suggests that it doesn't work—and may even delay gastric emptying in this age group (Archives of Diseases in Childhood Fetal …

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