Minerva: March 2000
- By: Elizabeth Bruce
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 (www.pediatrics.org/cgi/content/full/105/1/14). 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