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Medicals journal at Christmas

As 2022 is wrapped up, just for fun we thought we would look at some of the best light-hearted articles published during the Christmas period in the BMJ and MJA over the last few years.







Meals and movies: making our microbiota merry
Good balance is needed for our microbiota, and consequently our mental health. Many festive films portray a Western diet that can lead to dysbiosis. Through their action on the gut–brain axis and the influence of media on dietary choices, the festive foods consumed in these films (maybe an extra chocolate biscuit during Love Actually) can be stressful for our microbiota. MJA 12 December 2022

The Paediatric Aussie Chocolate Poo Scale
Children with recurrent abdominal pain (CRAP) have been assessed using the Bristol Stool Scale (BSS). However, it appears that the BSS is not as valid in infants and young children. Over the years, other scales have been developed for use in paediatric patients with mixed success. The Amsterdam Stool Scale (ASS) incorporated new components to include information on stool colour and stool volume.4 The ASS appears to be more appropriate for use among infants, but it has been suggested that it is too complex for routine use and it is not commonly used by health care professionals.4 Recently, the Brussels Infant Toddler Stool Scale (BITSS) was developed and compared with the BSS. MJA 12 December 2022

Doctors on film
Medicine is surprisingly under-represented in the world of cinema, considering how intensely emotional and gripping the life and death dramas of the practice can be. BMJ 16 December 2022

She-Hulk: an incredible case of transfusion associated graft versus host disease
This paper analyses a high profile case of non-lethal TaGVHD due to inadvertent blood contamination of an open wound after a car accident.2 While both donor and recipient survived the crash and contamination, the recipient was left with unexpected side effects, namely inheriting the ability of the donor to transform into an enormous green rage monster. BMJ 16 December 2022

“Harry Potter and the Multitudinous Maladies”: a retrospective population‐based observational study of morbidity and mortality among witches and wizards
Morbidity and, in particular, mortality were very high and predominantly caused by magical means. Further investigation into the safety at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is warranted. The few treatments used had high success rates; rapid recovery was the rule, and hospital stays generally brief. Efforts should be undertaken to identify the magical therapies and interventions used and to introduce these novel remedies into Muggle medicine. MJA 12 December 2022

I tried to survive as a Doctor in The Sims 4
The games journalist Jordan Oloman joins some 33 million people worldwide playing a social simulation game—while he chooses to live as a medical professional. When the world first went into national lockdowns during the covid-19 pandemic, I, like many, craved a bit of normality in life. Being a freelance video game journalist, I turned to the one thing that I knew best and started a game in the popular life simulator The Sims 4 playing a freelance journalist.1 The results were surreal, funny, and a little bit profound. BMJ 16 December 2022

Sixty seconds on . . . Christmas wishes
On the first day of Christmas the NHS sent to me . . . BMJ 2 December 2022 _________________________________________________________________________________


A guide to the management of atrial fibrillation in Santa Claus
In view of his advanced age and risk factors, Santa Claus is at high risk of developing atrial fibrillation. Despite this, no guidelines exist on the subject. Following a review of the literature, we present our position on the management of atrial fibrillation in Santa Claus, and propose the use of the SANTA CLAUS mnemonic to aid clinicians: Screen for atrial fibrillation; Anticoagulate; Normalise heart rate; Treat comorbidities; Anti‐arrhythmic drugs; Cardioversion; Lifestyle measures; Ablation treatment; Understand emotional and psychological impact; Save Santa Claus. MJA 13 December 2021

The CRECHE study: testing the urban myth that chocolate Santa Clauses are re‐wrapped Easter Bunnies
Although about one‐third of our survey respondents did not rule out the possibility of seasonal sweets being re‐used, Whole body computed tomography (WBCT) imaging found no similarity between chocolate foil‐wrapped Easter and Christmas figurines, providing solid evidence against this urban myth. Chocolate Santa Clauses are unlikely to pose a significant threat to hospital food hygiene requirements. MJA 13 December 2021

The holly and the ivy: a festive platter of plant hazards
An unsystematic review, inspired by Christmas culture, examining the potential for harm from consumption or exposure to plants associated with Christmas. BMJ 15 December 2021

We all fall down: head injuries in nursery rhyme characters
Nursery rhymes might aim to teach children morals and good behaviour, but Declan Patton examines several that involve or are suspected of involving fall related head injuries and wonders if they convey the correct message.  BMJ 15 December 2021

Heavy metal toxicity and mortality—association between density of heavy metal bands and cause specific hospital admissions and mortality: population based cohort study
The study found no evidence for adverse health outcomes with increasing density of heavy metal bands. Cities with a high density of heavy metal bands showed slightly lower rates of mortality and of hospital admissions for alcohol related problems and self-harm. Although residual confounding remains a problem in observational studies, vibrant local heavy metal scenes—comparable to many other forms of cultural capital—might help to promote health through healthier lifestyles, better coping mechanisms, and a stronger sense of community. BMJ 15 December 2021

Anticipating the ageing trajectories of superheroes in the Marvel cinematic universe
Ruth Hubbard and colleagues examine the personal traits and health behaviours of five of Marvel's superheroes and envisage the challenges this extraordinary cohort might experience during ageing. BMJ 13 December 2021



Association of high profile football matches in Europe with traffic accidents in Asia: archival study
Days featuring high profile football matches in Europe were associated with more traffic accidents in Taiwan and Singapore than were days with lower profile football matches. A potential causal mechanism may be Asian drivers losing sleep by watching high profile European matches, which are often played in the middle of the night in Asia. BMJ 16 December 2020

Effectiveness of hospital clowns for symptom management in paediatrics: systematic review of randomised and non-randomised controlled trials
These findings suggest that the presence of hospital clowns during medical procedures, induction of anaesthesia in the preoperative room, and as part of routine care for chronic conditions might be a beneficial strategy to manage some symptom clusters. Furthermore, hospital clowns might help improve psychological wellbeing in admitted children and adolescents with acute and chronic disorders, compared with those who received only standard care. BMJ 16 December 2020

Harms and the Xmas factor
The Christmas season is associated with preventable harms from cards, tree decorations, and presents, as well as overeating and overdrinking. Given the balance of benefits and harms, Christmas may not be cost effective. BMJ 16 December 2020

The shared risk of diabetes between dog and cat owners and their pets: register based cohort study
Data indicated that owners of a dog with diabetes were more likely to develop type 2 diabetes during follow-up than owners of a dog without diabetes. It is possible that dogs with diabetes could serve as a sentinel for shared diabetogenic health behaviours and environmental exposures. BMJ 10 December 2020

What the forks? A longitudinal quality improvement study tracking cutlery numbers in a public teaching and research hospital staff tearoom
Teaspoon disappearance is a more substantial problem than fork migration in a multidisciplinary staff tearoom, and may reflect different kleptomaniacal or individual appropriation tendencies. If giving cutlery this Christmas, give teaspoons, not forks. The symbolism of fork rebirth or resurrection is appropriate for both Christmas and Easter, and forks are also mighty useful implements for eating cake! BMJ 14 December 2020


Previous Awareness Weeks

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