University of Nebraska Medical Center

PubMed and Christmas

Get into the spirit of the holiday with these Christmas themed articles! Some full-text available.

Santa Claus: a public health pariah?
BMJ. 2009 Dec 16;339:b5261.
Grills NJ, Halyday B.
PMID: 20015905

The relationship between television advertising, children’s viewing and their requests to Father Christmas.
J Dev Behav Pediatr. 2007 Dec;28(6):456-61.
Pine KJ, Wilson P, Nash AS.
OBJECTIVE: Children’s letters to Father Christmas provide an opportunity to use naturalistic methods to investigate the influence of television advertising. METHODS: This study investigates the number of toy requests in the letters of children aged between 6 and 8 (n = 98) in relation to their television viewing and the frequency of product advertisements prior to Christmas. Seventy-six hours of children’s television were sampled, containing over 2,500 advertisements for toys. RESULTS: Children’s viewing frequency, and a preference for viewing commercial channels, were both related to their requests for advertised goods. Gender effects were also found, with girls requesting more advertised products than boys. CONCLUSION: Exploring the children’s explicit understanding of advertising showed that children in this age group are not wholly aware of the advertisers’ intent and that, together with their good recall of advertising, this may account for their vulnerability to its persuasive messages.
PMID: 18091090

“All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth” (the story behind the song).
J Hist Dent. 2006 Winter;54(3):109-10.
Christen AG, Christen JA.
During his long and productive career, Donald Yetter Gardner (1913-2004) played various musical instruments, directed church choirs, wrote contemporary church anthems and led many community-sponsored choral events. Additionally, he penned a number of popular spirituals, including “Man Shall Not Live By Bread Alone,” and  “O Give Thanks Unto the Lord”. He was noted for his varied musical accomplishments, but he was best known for composing what was to become an international childrens holiday favorite, “All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth”.
PMID: 17354676

Visiting Santa: another look.
Psychol Rep. 2005 Jun;96(3 Pt 2):1022-4.
Trinkaus J.
An informal enquiry of the facial expressions of children as they queued up to meet Santa Claus during the 2003 Yuletide season showed that about 82% of the 300 children appeared to be indifferent to seeing Santa. As this finding seemed perhaps different from what conventional wisdom would suggest, that most children would be exhilarated or happy to visit with Santa, this study was replicated in 2004.
PMID: 16173373
Christmas gingerbread (Lebkuchen) and Christmas cheer–review of the potential role of mood elevating amphetamine-like compounds formed in vivo and in furno.
Prague Med Rep. 2005;106(1):27-38.
Idle JR.
The typical spices used in winter include nutmeg, cinnamon, clove and anise. These spices contain two groups of chemicals, the allylbenzenes and their isomers, the propenylbenzenes. It was suggested 40 years ago by Alexander Shulgin that these substances act as metabolic precursors of amphetamines. The biotransformation of these precursors to nitrogen-containing metabolites is reviewed. These reactions have not been reported in humans. Whether or not the pharmacology and toxicology of spices such as nutmeg can be explained on the basis of their allylbenzene or propenylbenzene content is speculative. Humans may be exposed to amphetamines derived from these precursors in forno, the formation during baking and cooking, for example in the preparation of Lebkuchen, or Christmas gingerbread. It is possible that this may be responsible, in part, for uplifting our mood in winter. However, the role of these aromatic substances, acting simply as odours, evoking old memories of winters past, cannot be ignored. Whether spices have a true pharmacological effect or they act as aromatherapy remains to be elucidated through clinical and laboratory studies.
PMID: 16007907

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