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September 2001
Vol. 4, No. 9, p 17.
news in brief

Odds and sods

opening artWant to live longer? Then eat right, don’t smoke, stay active, have regular checkups, and . . . oh, yeah, try to win an Academy Award. Better yet, win several.

A recent statistical study found that actors who received Academy Awards lived an average of 3.9 years longer than non-award-winning nominees (79.7 vs 75.8 years). Receiving multiple awards had further life-lengthening benefits; receiving additional nominations did not (Ann. Intern. Med. 2001, 134, 955–962).

Although numerous studies have shown that higher socioeconomic status is associated with longevity, this was the first to examine whether the social status that comes with receiving a highly regarded award can further increase the life expectancy of people who are already well off, say the study’s authors, Donald A. Redelmeier and Sheldon M. Singh of the Sunnybrook and Women’s College Health Sciences Centre in Toronto.

Because the authors did not compare the family backgrounds and lifestyles of the winners with those of nonwinners, they cannot say with certainty that the awards made the difference.Nor can they say whether receiving other types of awards—such as a 10-year achievement pin from the office or a trophy for highest bowling score—will add years to the lives of ordinary folks.


Are putts of 2–4 ft consistently turning your birdies into bogeys? Don’t curse your luck; blame “the yips”, say researchers at the Mayo Clinic (Rochester, MN; Sports Med. 2000, 30, 425–437). The yips is a psychoneuromuscular impediment that affects the execution of a putting stroke. It can cause tremors, jerking, and freezing, and of course, it can add strokes to your golf score. Its cause is not known.

It is not clear how many golfers are affected, but 52% of more than 1000 tournament golfers responding to a survey believed that the yips affected their golf game. The respondents reported having the most trouble with putts of 2–4 ft and fast, downhill, and left-to-right breaking putts.

If you find yourself choking on what should be simple putts, Aynsley M. Smith and colleagues say help may be on the way. The researchers are planning to study whether changing the grip on the putter or taking β-blockers can ease the yips and improve putting performance.

MARY ANNE DUNKIN

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