Archive for 'Research News'

Clicker Training for Surgeons and Other Animals, and other surprises about surgeons

Tuesday, December 4th, 2018

A medical report about using clickers to train surgeons (rather than other kinds of animals) is one of several studies featured in the article “Surprises About Surgeons,” which is one of the articles in the special Medical Surprises issue of the Annals of Improbable Research, which is one of the 143 issues published so far!

Subscribe to the magazine, and a new batch of fresh-cooked improbable research will come your way every two months! A subscription also makes a lovely gift, for certain personality types, we are told.

Breathing: A Sigh of Relief (medical report)

Monday, December 3rd, 2018

A cough led to a cast—a bronchial cast—for (or rather from) the patient described in this medical report.

Cast of the Right Bronchial Tree,” Gavitt A. Woodard and Georg M. Wieselthaler, New England Journal of Medicine, vol. 379, November 29, 2018, p. 2151. (Thanks to Emily Willingham for bringing this to our attention.) The authors, at the University of California, San Francisco, explain:

“A 36-year-old man was admitted to the intensive care unit with an acute exacerbation of chronic heart failure. His medical history included heart failure with an ejection fraction of 20%, bioprosthetic aortic-valve replacement for bicuspid aortic stenosis, endovascular stenting of an aortic aneurysm, and placement of a permanent pacemaker for complete heart block. An Impella ventricular assist device was placed for management of acute heart failure, and a continuous heparin infusion was initiated for systemic anticoagulation. During the next week, the patient had episodes of small-volume hemoptysis, increasing respiratory distress, and increasing use of supplemental oxygen (up to 20 liters delivered through a high-flow nasal cannula). During an extreme bout of coughing, the patient spontaneously expectorated an intact cast of the right bronchial tree.”

The relief did not last long. The patient died a week later.

Why don’t ice skaters get swollen hands? An hypothesis

Monday, December 3rd, 2018

If you were to take part in a prolonged inline roller-skate street journey involving the rhythmic swaying and waving of your outstretched arms in a circular arc, you might end up suffering from oedema (a.k.a. edema). As did Doctor Sody Naimer [pictured] of the Department of Emergency Medicine, Neve Dekalim, Goosh Katif, and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel. 

Leading the doctor to wonder, en passant, why ice skaters – who are also prone to a lot of arm rotation – don’t as a rule seem to get oedema as a result. His hypothesis is :

“Possible reasons why this problem does not occur during ice skating are the fact that long distances without any stops are uncommon and the cold environment may provide protection through peripheral vasoconstriction.”

See: Centripetal skater’s manual oedema, British Journal of Sports Medicine, vol 36, issue 4.

The Man Who Was and Was Not Freddie Mercury—and other surprises about patients

Wednesday, November 28th, 2018

A psychiatric report about “a patient who was a double for and imitator of the late Freddy Mercury, lead singer for the rock group Queen” is one of several studies featured in the article “Surprises About Patients,” which is one of the articles in the special Medical Surprises issue of the Annals of Improbable Research, which is one of the 143 issues published so far!

Subscribe to the magazine, and a new batch of fresh-cooked improbable research will come your way every two months! A subscription also makes a lovely gift, for certain personality types, we are told.

Two tales of headphone jacks gone awry

Tuesday, November 27th, 2018

Two reports about headphone jacks, appearing in the same year, raise possibilities. Here are portions of the two reports, side by side:

Mark Wilson writes, in Fast Company magazine:

I still miss my headphone jack, and I want it back
Two years after Apple removed the iPhone’s headphone jack, life without it still sucks….

The Asian Journal of Urology reports:

Listening to his inner voice? An unusual urethral foreign body: A review of literature and few learning points,” Abheesh Varma Hegde, Suryakanth Choubey, Revanna Siddappa Kanagali, Gotam Pipara, A. Nagaraja Rao, and A. Mohan, Asian Journal of Urology, vol. 5, no. 2, April 2018, pp. 131-132. (Thanks to Richard Wassersug for bringing this to our attention.) The authors, at St. Johns Medical College Hospital, Bangalore, India, report:

“A 26-year-old man presented to the Emergency Department with dysuria and urinary retention. There were no other urinary symptoms. History revealed he had self-inserted the jack of an ear phone into his penis 2 h prior, for autoerotic stimulation. There were three prior instances of such insertions after which he would remove the ear phones himself. He had also tried to catheterize himself in the past, for sexual gratification. There was no history of underlying psychiatric illness. On examination, the ear phones and the cable were dangling from the external urethral meatus and the cable was palpable within the penile urethra (Fig. 1). Pelvic radiography showed a variable length of the cable within the bladder that appeared to be coiled and the ear phone jack, intact (Fig. 2).”

BONUS (distantly, if at all, related): Plug and Play

BONUS (probably unrelated): “A Salute To Head-Scratching Science

 

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