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Posted at 1:56 PM on September 27, 2005 by Ben Tesch

ER visits down during Red Sox playoff run
According to a study published Monday in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, traffic in Boston-area emergency rooms significantly slowed during last year's Red Sox championship games.

Ben Reis and John Brownstein, researchers at Children's Hospital Boston, compared Neilsen television ratings with hospital traffic.

"We knew if we were looking for any public event that would have an effect on health care utilization, it would have to be the Red Sox championship games," Reis told The Boston Globe.

The pair used an ER surveillance system to track patient visits last fall at a half dozen hospitals in metropolitan Boston, then compared that with TV ratings for key Red Sox games.

They discovered that during the championship games, fans in three of every five households were watching. At the same time, emergency room visits dropped by about 15 percent when compared with trends for ER visits on fall evenings.

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