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Short takes

MagazineSeptember 1995 (Vol. 6 Issue 6)Short takes

* Elderly people who suffer from depression can be helped by music therapy

* Elderly people who suffer from depression can be helped by music therapy. Researchers found it was more beneficial than the standard treatments, such as psychiatric care and drug-based solutions, and far less expensive. The therapy includes gentle exercise and massage to music. The improvements were "clinically significant" and were maintained during a nine-month follow-up period (J Gerontol, 1994; 49: 265-269).

* Anti-dandruff shampoos that contain coal tar should be regulated and their use restricted, Dutch researchers have concluded. They argue that the products contain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), which have been shown, in animal tests, to be cancer-inducing. Products containing coal tar have already been stopped in Germany (The Lancet, June 24, 1995).

* A total of 291 errors were noted in 168 intravenous drugs given by senior house officers and nurses at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children in Northern Ireland. This means that each dose was applied with at least one error, which included incorrect time, rate and dilution. Of the 132 doses given by senior house officers, 98 per cent had at least one error, while the nurses' error rate was 83 per cent (BMJ, June 10, 1995).

* The number of glue ear operations is in decline. The operation peaked in the late 1980s, and has now fallen by 12.6 per cent, according to analysis of 13 health districts in Britain. The pattern is typical of health care technologies, say researchers: overenthusiastic application followed by more stringent controls (Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 1995; 49: 234-7).

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