Intended for healthcare professionals


The talisman effect

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 19 November 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c5916
  1. Chris Ellis, general practitioner, Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
  1. cristobalellis{at}

Early most mornings I shuffle into the kitchen to make coffee for the family. You may visualise the cupboard in our kitchen above the counter to my right. This is where the family’s store of vitamins is kept. There are numerous bottles of vitamins and minerals labelled from A all the way to Z. There is vitamin C and lots of vitamin Bs and then a whole lot of minerals such as zinc and magnesium and even selenium. Our …

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