Intended for healthcare professionals

Reviews Minerva


BMJ 2000; 320 doi: (Published 15 January 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;320:196

New objects tend to stand out in a familiar environment, and neurologists have now begun to understand why. Humans have frontal lobes that direct their attention to new visual stimuli (Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry 2000;68:18-24). In visual experiments, people with infarctions in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex paid substantially less attention to new targets than did normal controls. This might explain the apathy characteristic of this kind of stroke, say the researchers.

Newborn babies love skin to skin contact. It's warm, comforting, even analgesic, according to a study in Pediatrics ( Neonates laid naked but for a nappy on their mothers' chests during a heel prick cried 82% less than control infants laid in a cot. Other studies will have to examine whether skin to skin contact is any better than straightforward cuddling.

Patients often disagree with doctors over what is good for them, even when given the evidence from trials (Medical Journal of Australia 2000;171:9-12). Surveys of Australian patients show that they are much less likely to want treatment, even lifesaving treatment such as coronary artery bypass surgery, than their doctors think. This is unsurprising, says one commentator, and …

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