Shorts

* In a recent study, one third of 773 individuals involved in a road accident as a driver, bicycle rider or pedestrian experienced some level of anxiety, depression, fear of travel or post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) 3 to 12 months later and, in most cases, persisted. After one year, about half the group had phobic travel anxiety, nearly 60 per cent had general anxiety, and half were diagnosed with PTSD (Am J Psychiatry, 2001; 158: 1231-8).

* New research in nearly 1300 men suggests that, during a severe asthma attack, men are less likely than women to notice the symptoms of the attack. The reason for this is unclear, but it may be that men perceive less discomfort because of greater lung size and muscle strength, or because they generally develop asthma at an earlier age than women. Men also tend to only seek medical attention when symptoms are too severe to ignore, the researchers noted (Ann Emerg Med, 2001; 38: 123-8).

* What's lurking in that paddling pool? Physicians in Canada have found the first outbreak of a new type of Pseudomonas infection called 'hot foot syndrome'. This discovery was made when 40 children, aged 2 to 15, developed intense pain in the soles of their feet within 40 hours of using the same wading pool. A hot, red swelling began after a few hours, along with pain so severe that the children were unable to stand up. Three children were given oral cephalexin (an antibiotic) while the others were treated with cold compresses, analgesics and foot elevation. In all cases, the condition resolved within 14 days, although it recurred in three children after they revisited the same pool (N Engl J Med, 2001; 345: 335-8).