Ultrasound Probe Grip: The Afternoon Tea Technique

November 17th, 2017

British tea traditions continue to affect the way medicine is taught and practiced. A new study pours out details.

Ultrasound Probe Grip: The Afternoon Tea Technique,” Luke McMenamin, Stephen Wolstenhulme, Max Hunt, Stuart Nuttall, and Asoka Weerasinghe, Journal of the Intensive Care Society, vol. 18, no. 3, 2017, pp. 258-260. The authors, at medical institutions in Leeds and Dewsbury, explain:

“To encourage medical students and trainees to adopt effective probe ‘etiquette’, to prevent poor probe stability, caused by a pencil/pinch-grip (Figure 1), and improve image quality, the ‘afternoon tea technique’ was devised as a teaching method. Classically in Victorian Britain, the fifth finger was held out whilst drinking tea in aristocratic households. Therefore, the notion of ‘afternoon tea’ and the concept of ‘keeping your little finger’ in contact with the patient’s skin was created (Figure 2) in a bid to keep the probe stable whilst carrying out the procedure.”


Seriously Silly Design Fictions (study)

November 16th, 2017

What would be the point of designing and developing “Magic Machines” in the form of a “Poo Detector” …

Or an “Eyes and Ears” gizmo? …

One reason would be to draw attention to the effects of so-called ‘Solutionism’ – prevalent in today’s world where technological ‘solutions’ (esp. gadgets) are constantly presented to solve problems that, previously, no-one really knew they had.

Mark Blythe, who is Professor of Interdisciplinary Design at Northumbria University, UK, specialises in examining such things as ‘Design Fictions’ and ‘Pretendotypes’ and was lead author of the paper ‘Anti-Solutionist Strategies: Seriously Silly Design Fiction’ presented at CHI ’16 Proceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, pp. 4968-4978, San Jose, California, USA — May 07 – 12, 2016.

“This paper has identified a number of practices which reject the search for solutions and deliberately seek to create unuseless, partial or silly objects. It has argued that although critical design and design fiction offer alternative aims for design (critique, commentary) the practice must move beyond satire and irony.”

A full preprint copy of the paper is available here.

BONUS: An example from the plethora of ‘Useless Machine’ videos available on YouTube ‘Another Advanced Useless Machine’

Three Computer Keyboards Operated by Hissing

November 15th, 2017

Hissing might be a means of operating equipment, suggests this study:

Predictive Scanning Keyboard Operated by Hissing,” Ondřej Poláček [pictured here], Zdeněk Mikovec, and Pavel Slavik, in Proceedings of the 2nd IASTED International Conference Assistive Technologies, 2012, pp. 862-9. The authors, at Czech Technical University in Prague, report:

“This strategy is demonstrated on three virtual keyboards operated by hissing – a novel interaction method suitable for severely motor impaired people with speech impairments. An experiment with 39 users was conducted to compare the keyboards to three existing scanning keyboards. The participants were able to enter a text by hissing at the speed of 10-16 characters per minute.”

Here’s further detail from the study:

Techniques in Saliva Collection: Bacon Smell Rules, Lozenge Drools

November 14th, 2017

Certain studies are tongue in cheek. This certain study is interested in the fluids between the tongue and cheek. Mouthwatering science abounds in the article, “New Techniques for Augmenting Saliva Collection: Bacon Rules and Lozenge Drools.”

Hoping to find a method that increases the rate mouth fluids can be collected, researchers had volunteers’ saliva analyzed on three different days under three different conditions:

On the basal day, participants provided 5 saliva samples. Saliva sampling began at a target time of 9:45AM, and the 4 subsequent samples were collected 15-minute intervals thereafter…On the lozenge day, participants returned to the laboratory and were administered one lozenge 25 minutes before sample collection, ensuring enough time for the lozenge to dissolve… On the bacon day, bacon was prepared via microwave 5 minutes before the participants arrived to allow the aroma to permeate the laboratory. Bacon was placed in front of the participants for 5 minutes before expectoration began at a target time of 9:45 AM, and a second sample was commenced 15 minutes after the first sample began.

The researchers generated the spitting image of a graph.

Both lozenge and the aroma of bacon significantly increase saliva flow and decrease saliva collection time. Many psychological and endocrinologic studies can use either of these 2 techniques for augmenting saliva collection.

The authors admit that having readily available cooked bacon smell may be tricky to obtain. Since other smells may also help increase saliva flow, the authors make a suggestion for future research:

Because viewing pictures of food is already a common method used in salivary research, perhaps examining the utility of scratch-and-sniff pictures might reveal saliva flow rate benefits to this aroma-based method.

The full citation: “New Techniques for Augmenting Saliva Collection: Bacon Rules and Lozenge Drools,” Jeremy C. Perez, Jacob L. Rouquette, Olga Miočević, Melissa C. Warner, Paul D. Slowey, Elizabeth A. Shirtcliff. Clinical Therapeutics, vol. 37(3), 2017, pp 515-522.`

Bonus: Bacon has been shown to have other medical uses. The 2014 Ig Nobel Medicine Prize was awarded for treating “uncontrollable” nosebleeds, using the method of nasal-packing-with-strips-of-cured-pork.

Elephant Trunk (new patent)

November 13th, 2017

Robert Dale Beadles of Lodi, California, US, has just been granted a new US patent. Clues to its intended function can be seen in the drawing : 704 being a handle, and 703 being a wheel.

“In summary, the present container for items and personal effects for travel will be seen to provide not only a useful container for the transportation of goods, but also serve as a fashion accessory for people of all ages. The container is also easy to use, and provides for a more ergonomic option as it only requires gentle pulling to activate the rear leg wheel system for the transportation of the container. When the tension has been released to a preset tension, the rear leg wheel system will retract, and the container resembling an animal will ‘sit down,’ and can also provide other entertainment at the time with other gestures such as panting, yawning, or wagging its tail, for example.”

Note that the invention will also be applicable to dogs, whales &etc. For more explanations and drawings of the other animals see US patent 9,788,619, October 17, 2017, entitled simply ‘Suitcase’.