Today’s Headlines: Sore Throats, Eye Contact and Poop Pills

Most antibiotics prescribed for sore throat unneeded: A new study shows that “most Americans with a sore throat are prescribed antibiotics even though just a fraction stand to benefit from them.” Researchers found that doctors prescribed antibiotics 60% of the time for patients with sore throats, even though “only about 10 percent of adults with sore throats have strep throat, which is caused by bacteria that could be killed by antibiotics.” Most other sore throats are caused by viruses. Unnecessary antibiotic use may cause problems such as diarrhea and yeast infections, and contributes to antibiotic resistance. (Reuters)

Persuasive power of eye contact may be a myth, study suggests: A new study challenges the common wisdom that eye contact helps you persuade others to see your point of view. Researchers have found that “eye contact in such situations may actually make people more resistant to persuasion, especially if they already disagree with your stance.” The more eye contact listeners had with a speaker, the more they disagreed. Oddly enough, “people were more likely to find speakers convincing if they focused on the mouth rather than the eyes.” (US News & World Report)

Pills made from poop cure serious gut infections: Doctors have found a new way to cure dangerous gut infections caused by the bacteria Clostridium difficile. A pill that contains healthy people’s poop may serve as a less yucky way to do “‘fecal transplants'” and so far appears to be very effective. “Researchers tried this on 27 patients and cured them all after strong antibiotics failed to help.” C. difficile, which causes nausea, cramping and severe diarrhea, infects about half a million Americans a year, killing 14,000. (ABC News)