Intended for healthcare professionals

Minerva Minerva


BMJ 2000; 320 doi: (Published 26 February 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;320:590

Earlier this year Minerva mentioned two Israeli doctors who said chicken soup should be classed as a drug. Cynics who want hard evidence of benefit will be interested in an almost forgotten controlled trial of chicken soup published by Chestin 1978 (74:408-10). It shows that sipping hot chicken soup from a cup speeds up nasal mucus by 2.3 mm per minute—more than hot water, cold water, or chicken soup through a straw. And faster mucus, say the authors, means shorter colds.

Researchers from Reykjavik exploited Iceland's excellent cancer registry to look into commercial airline pilots' risk of cancer (Occupational and Environmental Medicine2000;57:175-9). Pilots have a high incidence of malignant melanoma, caused either by cosmic radiation at work or ultraviolet radiation on the beach. Jet lag from regular flights across time zones seems to increase the risk even further.

The Whitehall study of British civil servants has been running since 1967 and continues to provide evidence for the strong link between social class, illness, and death. The latest analysis in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health(2000;54:178-84) shows once again the health benefits of better pay and a high status job. Civil servants from the lower ranks get sicker and die …

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