Bmj Usa: Minerva Minerva


BMJ 2003; 327 doi: (Published 05 December 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;327:E261

This article originally appeared in BMJ USA

A two year follow up of 447 Finnish hospital doctors and their senior nurse controls has found that the doctors took about one third of the amount of sick leave taken by their controls. But there were no differences in health outcomes, self rated health status, and the prevalence of chronic illness between the two groups (Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2001;58:361–366). Poor teamwork seems to contribute more to doctors' absenteeism than overwork or low job control.

Jet lag may prove more harmful than just making us feel groggy. Researchers from Bristol University used structural magnetic resonance imaging to show that airline workers with several years' experience of disrupted circadian rhythms have smaller temporal lobes than those who have notched up similar flight times on domestic routes (Nature Neuroscience 2001;4:567–568). They also had chronically higher cortisol levels, which have previously been correlated with smaller temporal lobes and memory impairment. The same may be true for shift workers.

Minerva fortunately lives in an overheated home and rarely suffers coughs and colds. Her experience is borne out by a study of more than 10 000 …

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