Minerva Minerva


BMJ 2002; 324 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.324.7328.58 (Published 05 January 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:58

Alcohol and medical students tend to go together. Despite much effort to educate the public, and even with the current crackdown on drinking and driving, it seems that few of these campaigns have reached medical undergraduates. A survey of medical students at one school in London found that nothing much has changed in the past 12 years. 28% of students drank more than the safe limit, and a shocking 52% came into the “problem drinker” category, as defined by well recognised assessment tools (Alcohol and Alcoholism 2001,36:540-3).

The “French paradox”—why people in France have a lower incidence of heart disease than those in Britain despite a diet similar in saturated fats—may be explained by the discovery that the potent polyphenols in red grape skins inhibit production of endothelin-1. This peptide causes vasoconstriction, which is believed to be a key component in the development of coronary arterial disease. White and rosé wines do not produce the same effect (Nature 2001;414:863-4).

Minerva read in the Northern Ireland Civil Service Workforce Health Survey 2001 that the single greatest cause of job related stress was having too much work to do, and the lowest cause of stress was keeping up with emails and voice mails. She wonders how a similar study in the …

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