MinervaBMJ 2000; 321 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.321.7272.1358 (Published 25 November 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;321:1358
Stress at work is a popular scapegoat for a range of health problems including heart disease and cancer, although a recent cross sectional study suggests that if stress does cause cancer, the mechanism has nothing to do with smoking, drinking, insufficient exercise, or an aversion to vegetables (International Journal of Epidemiology 2000;29:785-92). Various analyses of data from a Dutch cohort found no association between levels of stress at work and lifestyles that cause cancer.
Chronic psychological stress can provoke myocardial ischaemia in people who already have coronary artery disease, possibly by causing the endothelium in their coronary arteries to malfunction (Circulation 2000;102:2473-8). Researchers from London asked 10 healthy men and eight men with non-insulin dependent diabetes to defend themselves to an audience against a spurious charge of shoplifting. The stress caused a measurable dysfunction in the healthy volunteers' vascular homoeostasis that lasted nearly four hours. Chronic stress of a similar magnitude could cause lasting endothelial damage, say the researchers.
Californians love foraging for mushrooms, which is why over 6000 of them were poisoned between 1993 and 1997 (Western Journal of Medicine 2000;173:314-7). Few (0.3%) came to any serious harm, however, and there was only one death. Treatment of mushroom poisoning remains difficult because foragers are …