Views & Reviews Between the Lines

Emotional, my dear Watson

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: (Published 12 November 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b4655
  1. Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor

    The role of stress, or more generally of psychological factors, in the production of physical illness has long been a matter of interest and contention. Speaking for myself, I have found that I am more prone to viral illness when I relax after a period of exceptionally hard work than during it; but that, I concede, is no evidence.

    Do The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes constitute evidence? It is surprising how large a part stress induced disease plays in this volume.

    Sherlock Holmes himself is not immune from it, though we sometimes make the mistake of supposing him to be a cold and rational calculating machine. In “The Reigate Squires” Holmes is ill. …

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