Medical-journals mystery? What about those parking-gate injuries?

May 3rd, 2017

Why are there so very few medical journal reports about parking-gate injuries?

Such injuries — which happen when a parking lot gate encounters a human body — are reported to be frequent and expensive. Yet PubMed, the preeminent database of medical studies and other medical reports, seems to include almost no medical reports about this kind of injury. Why? Have we been negligent in our search attempts? Are these kinds of injuries considered so very straightforward to treat that no medical professionals deem them worth writing about?

This video claims to show one of presumably many incidents:

As to the prevalence of this kind of injury, the trade news source Parking Today reported, in 2011: “Gate-arm accidents are responsible for 5% of all reported personal injury claims occurring in parking garages, says a study conducted by the International Parking Institute. They also present the third-highest average dollar amount, at $2,800 per claim.”

The mystery of why there are so few medical journal reports extends, too, to the question of injuries incurred when an automobile driver has physically unhappy intercourse with a parking lot automatic-ticket-payment-collection machine.


Is a Slowly-Rolling Car Not Dangerous?

May 2nd, 2017

Physics can help a person realize that it’s not always good to be hit by a slowly rolling car, even if the ground appears to be flat. This medical report gives details:

Pedestrian accident analysis with a silicone dummy block,” Youngnae Lee, Sungji Park, Seokhyun Yoon, Youngsu Kong, and Jae-Mo Goh, Forensic Science International, vol. 220, no. 1, 2012, pp. e13-e16. The authors at the National Forensic Service (NFS), Seoul, South Korea, report:

A rolling car on a gentle slope seems to be easily halted by human power to prevent damage to the car or a possible accident. However, even if the car rolls down very slowly, it can cause severe injuries to a pedestrian, especially when the pedestrian cannot avoid the rolling car. In an accident case that happened in our province, a pedestrian was injured by a rolling car, which had been parked on a slope the night before. The accident occurred in the parking lot of an apartment complex. The parking lot seemed almost flat with the naked eye. We conducted a rolling test with the accident vehicle at the site. The car was made to roll down the slope by purely gravitational pull and was made to collide with the silicone block leaning against the retaining wall. Silicone has characteristics similar to those of a human body, especially with respect to stiffness. In the experiment, we measured the shock power quantitatively. The results showed that a rolling car could severely damage the chest of a pedestrian, even if it moved very slowly.

Phantom Phone Sensations (update)

May 1st, 2017

Following our earlier article regarding Phantom Phone Sensations (i.e. the sensation that one’s phone is ringing when in reality isn’t) we can now draw attention to a more recent research project from professor Robert Rosenberger of the Georgia Institute of Technology, School of Public Policy, Atlanta, US. He writes, in Computers in Human Behavior, 52 (2015) 124–131, regarding ‘An experiential account of phantom vibration syndrome’.
The professor’s paper explores, in some depth, what the prevalence of phantom vibration syndrome might mean for our contemporary relationships with technology – noting, however, that :

“The remarkable prevalence of phantom vibration syndrome appears to reveal something about our contemporary technological situation. But considering the scantiness of the empirical data, and considering the deep differences between the theoretical accounts of those data on offer, it is not possible to say at this time with any certainty exactly what that ‘something’ is.”

BONUS: Professor Robert Rosenberger has also written : On the hermeneutics of everyday things: or, the philosophy of fire hydrants for AI & Society (2016).

Toast and tea, in the March issue of mini-AIR

April 27th, 2017

The April issue of mini-AIR just went out. (mini-AIR is a wee little every-month supplement to the every-other-month magazine Annals of Improbable Research.)

This month it dips into:

  • research about TOAST and TEA.
  • a new research limerick contest — and the winner of last month’s Cigarette-Butt-and-Urban-Bird research limerick contest.
  • info about upcoming events, and events that are upcoming.

Mel [pictured here] says, “It’s swell.”

mini-AIR is the simplest way to keep informed about Improbable and Ig Nobel news and events.

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Bungee cord-induced corneal lacerations correcting for myopic astigmatism

April 27th, 2017

Although bungee jumping has been proved to be responsible for a wide range of medical problems (see previous article) it should not be assumed that use (or misuse) of bungee cords cannot ever have positive medical outcomes. A case is presented in the Journal of Cataract & Refractive Surgery which describes a patient who had his spectacles shattered by the catapulting metal end of a bungee cord – resulting in corneal lacerations from the broken glass. However, after recovery from the injury, there was a surprising outcome – the corneal laceration had produced a Radial-Keratotomy–like effect, resulting in much improved visual acuity in the damaged eye.

“The corneal lacerations appeared to induce a relaxing effect on the central cornea, thereby flattening it and improving the myopia; more severe outcomes such as globe perforation and infection were fortunately avoided. Our case not only describes one of the ocular injures related to a bungee cord, but also illustrates a surprising and un-recognized sequela of corneal trauma – myopic correction.”

Details are provided in Bungee cord-induced corneal lacerations correcting for myopic astigmatism, Journal of Cataract & Refractive Surgery Volume 33, Issue 7, July 2007, Pages 1339–1340

Advisory : Don’t try this at home, or away from home, or anywhere else.

BONUS : Eye trauma in Laurel and Hardy movies – another nice mess