Shop Talk

Yippee! Vacation

Yippee! The Evidence Workshop is going on summer vacation! Before we hit the road, we want to share some old ideas on work and rest.

Our source is an editorial from a 1919 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. The piece stood out for its impressive title, The Contribution of Holidays to National Vigor. 

The author writes with exhaustion as he* recounts that, in medical schools, “the necessities of war [have given rise to] a concentration of effort and speeding up of schedules utterly unprecedented in the history of such establishments.” While admiring the “rapid changes” undertaken to meet the emergency of war, he worries that extraordinary wartime measures will become peacetime expectations. His solution? A “period of reflection and mental recuperation.” In other words, the doctor orders a vacation! He says it will restore the “zest and vigor that contributes to our proper labors.” No evidence is cited, not even mechanism-based reasoning. But you won’t get an argument from me, as I load the car and head out for a classic American road trip to Mount Rushmore.  

Wish me luck. Shop Talk will be back in August. Until then, follow these easy steps to retrieve the JAMA article and hone your skills in PubMed. 

Go to
You will be redirected here,, which is fine. 

Enter holidays [MeSH] in the dialog box. 

The MeSH term for vacation is holidays.  PubMed defines it as “Days commemorating events. Holidays also include vacation periods.”

On the top right of the page, click on Display Options, then Sort By, then Best Match.

The “National Vigor” paper should be hit #2. It will be dated March 2019 because it was reprinted in JAMA 100 years after initial publication.   

If you want more info on PubMed or mechanism-based reasoning, check out these posts:

Click for our “how to” on using PubMed. 

Click for our favorite article on mechanism-based reasoning.  

Here’s a contemporary version of the idea of restoring zest and zeal at  

Bye for now. 

*No authors are listed on the editorial. I don’t know for sure whether it was written by a man. But let’s face it; it was 1919. Odds are it was a man. 

July 9, 2021

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