Intended for healthcare professionals

Bmj Usa


BMJ 2004; 328 doi: (Published 26 February 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:E276

In the United Kingdom it's referred to as the “August phenomenon”; in the United States it's July. That's the time of year when the inexperience of junior doctors might be blamed for influencing patient outcomes. But in a study of what happened in 38 US intensive care units, the authors found no evidence for a problem (Journal of General Internal Medicine 2003;18: 639-645). The odds of death and length of stay were similar from July through September, although the stays were shorter in non-teaching hospitals.

National spending for all antidepressants increased by a whopping 600% during the 1990s, but recent evidence indicates that almost 50% of patients stop taking their medication as early as three months after starting it. A writer in Drug Benefit Trends (2003;15: 32-33) struggles with the issue of whether using antidepressants as placebo is good practice, while remaining concerned about the level of depression that goes undetected and undertreated.

An epidemiological study of age related hearing loss conducted between 1993 and 1995 found that 46% of people aged 48-87 had impaired hearing. Further analysis of the follow up data found that the severity of the problem was significantly associated with decreased mental and physical functioning, and quality of life in general—brought about by …

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