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JAMA 100 Years Ago
November 13, 2002

PHYSICIANS AND LONGEVITY.

Author Affiliations
 

JAMA 100 Years Ago Section Editor: Jennifer Reiling, Assistant Editor.

JAMA. 2002;288(18):2344. doi:10.1001/jama.288.18.2344

It has often been said that it is not work but worry that kills. Perhaps no better exemplification of the truth of the saying can be found than the number of hardworking physicians, occupied unceasingly with great problems in medicine, who have nevertheless lived to what may well be considered an advanced age. Virchow's long life of nearly 81 years of strenuous devotion to work, so recently closed, is only a type of the prolongation of existence and usefulness that has fortunately been the lot of some of the greatest of the medical investigators. Longevity has been the rule, however, not only for the laboratory worker who in the placid preoccupation of original observation avoided the distraction of mind and the diversion of activity incident on medical practice, but also for the man who is able to combine both successfully. In fact, while the average life of the practicing physician is the shortest of any of the professions, most of the great investigating practitioners have lived lives so long as to encourage every medical man to take up original observation, if with no other idea than that of assuring himself longevity.

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