The Humbug index: a selection of holiday-themed medical research papers

December 23, 2010

The medical literature contains many articles that relate to the Christmas season. Some report the curious and others the tragic. Among the latter are reports concerning increased depression and observations of the higher incidence of road injuries and death resulting from alcohol consumption at holiday parties. The list above focuses on the first group, whose subjects range from interesting to unusual to bizarre. The oldest paper listed here dates back to 1941, suggesting that Christmas has long been recognised by the scientific community as the “most dangerous time of the year”.

The Humbug index: a selection of holiday-themed medical research papers
Data provided by Thomson Reuters from its Web of Science database
%3Cb%3EPaper%3C/b%3E %3Cbr /%3EAuthor(s), journal
%3Cb%3EDeck the halls with rows of trolleys…emergency departments are busiest over the Christmas holiday period%3C/b%3E%3Cbr /%3EW. Zheng, D.J. Muscatello and A.C. Chan %3Cbr /%3E%3Ci%3EMedical Journal of Australia%3C/i%3E, 187 (11-12): 630-633, 3 December 2007
%3Cb%3ECardiac mortality is higher around Christmas and New Year’s than at any other time: the holidays as a risk factor for death%3C/b%3E%3Cbr /%3ED.P. Phillips, J.R. Jarvinen, I.S. Abramson and R.R. Phillips %3Cbr /%3E%3Ci%3ECirculation%3C/i%3E, 110 (25): 3781-3788, 21 December 2004
%3Cb%3EChristmas and psycho-pathology: data from a psychiatric emergency room population%3C/b%3E %3Cbr /%3EJ.R. Hillard, J.M. Holland and D. Ramm %3Cbr /%3E%3Ci%3EArchives of General Psychiatry%3C/i%3E, 38 (12): 1377-1381, 1981
%3Cb%3EToxic hazards: Christmas holiday poison hazards%3C/b%3E %3Cbr /%3ER.J. Haggerty %3Cbr /%3E%3Ci%3ENew England Journal of Medicine%3C/i%3E, 259 (26): 17-18, 1958
%3Cb%3ESmall bowel perforation due to a Christmas cake decoration%3C/b%3E %3Cbr /%3EE.S. Kiff and N. Hulton %3Cbr /%3E%3Ci%3EBritish Medical Journal%3C/i%3E, 287 (6409): 1923-1924, 1983
%3Cb%3EComplications of ornamental Christmas bulb ingestion: case report and review of the literature%3C/b%3E %3Cbr /%3EH.P. Norberg and H.M. Reyes %3Cbr /%3E%3Ci%3EArchives of Surgery%3C/i%3E, 110 (12): 1494-1497, 1975
%3Cb%3EHoliday ornament-related injuries in children%3C/b%3E %3Cbr /%3EA. Kimia, L. Lee, M. Shannon, A. Capraro, D. Mays, P. Johnston, D. Hummel and M. Shuman %3Cbr /%3E%3Ci%3EPediatric Emergency Care%3C/i%3E, 25 (12): 819-822, December 2009
%3Cb%3EUnilateral phrenic-nerve paralysis from cutting down a Christmas tree%3C/b%3E %3Cbr /%3ER.H. Tiede, J.R. Hover and S.F. Davies %3Cbr /%3E%3Ci%3ESouthern Medical Journal%3C/i%3E, 87 (11): 1161-1163, November 1994
%3Cb%3EMold allergy and live Christmas trees%3C/b%3E %3Cbr /%3EW.J. Rockwell and J. Santilli %3Cbr /%3E%3Ci%3EAnnals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology%3C/i%3E, 100 (1): A39, Supplement, 1 January 2008
%3Cb%3EA hazard of Christmas: Bird Fancier’s Lung and the Christmas tree%3C/b%3E %3Cbr /%3EA.M. Baverstock and R.J. White %3Cbr /%3E%3Ci%3ERespiratory Medicine%3C/i%3E, 94 (2): 176, February 2000
%3Cb%3EChristmas-related eye injuries: a prospective study%3C/b%3E %3Cbr /%3EM. Tsatsos, E. Tsesmetzoglou, C. Triandaffilidis, J.R. Thompson and T. Eke %3Cbr /%3E%3Ci%3EClinical and Experimental Ophthalmology%3C/i%3E, 38 (1): 85-86, January/February 2010
%3Cb%3EHazards of fireworks on Christmas and New Year holidays%3C/b%3E %3Cbr /%3EP. Bugbee %3Cbr /%3E%3Ci%3EAmerican Medical Association%3C/i%3E, 117: 1911, October/December 1941

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