Minerva

Vitamin D deficiency and other stories . . .

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f6864 (Published 20 November 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f6864

“Let observation with extensive view, survey mankind from China to Peru” wrote Samuel Johnson in the The Vanity of Human Wishes, 1749. It’s a shame that he is not here to enjoy a world map in PLOS Medicine (2013, doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001547), whose colours represent the extent of depression and unhappiness in the world of 2010. It is lingeringly strange to contemplate, and worthy of another gloomy augustan poem. Why should major depression be the third greatest cause of lost disability adjusted life years in North Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America, yet only the 19th in sub-Saharan Africa? How much of the difference is caused by the inaccuracy of data and how much by the crooked timber of humanity? The most intriguing maps are those whose contours are still uncertain.

“Experienced ED [emergency department] physicians most often relied on clinical acumen rather than evidence-based guidelines when discharging patients from ED high-acuity …

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