CARB CRAVERS: EAT THIS UP Chromium picolinate supplements may help cut carbohydrate craving -- and treat some cases of depression, a study says.

The study, of 113 people with a disorder known as atypical depression, found that although chromium picolinate supplements were no more effective than a placebo in relieving depression overall, they did appear to aid certain, mainly appetite-related, symptoms.

A subgroup of patients with "irrepressible cravings" for sweets and starches did show improvement in depression symptoms.

The authors speculate the improvements in the body's use of insulin, the key regulator of blood sugar, may be the reason. The study, funded by a supplement maker, appears in the Journal of Psychiatric Practice.

Chromium, a mineral the body needs in trace amounts, is found in meat, whole grains and certain vegetables and fruit. The mineral enhances the action of insulin and helps break down carbohydrates, fat and protein. Chromium is being studied for treatment and prevention of diabetes.

Researchers have long noted links between depression, diabetes and heart disease. Some believe insulin resistance is behind the symptoms of overeating, carbohydrate craving and weight gain in some cases of depression.

MONEY FOR . . . LITTLE Paying doctors to reach clinical targets, an increasingly popular tactic, may not improve clinical care.

A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that paying doctors bonuses for hitting certain quality goals mainly rewards doctors who already are top performers. It does increase the number of patients screened for disease, however.

-- From News Services