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Archive for 'Boys Will Be Boys'

Pubic Hair Forensics (Improbable Research)

Tuesday, May 25th, 2021

The review column “Public Hair Forensics” is a but one of many featured items in the special Forensics issue of the Annals of Improbable Research. The article is free to download:

Recent Ups and Downs of Coffee Enemas

Tuesday, May 4th, 2021

Two recent medical studies add milk and sugar, so to speak to what we know, medically, about coffee enemas.

Up with Coffee Enemas (2020)

Coffee Enemas: A Narrative Review,” Linda L Isaacs [pictured here], Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, vol. 21, no. 12, December 2020. The author, an M.D. in Austin, Texas, explains:

Coffee enemas have been in use for at least 150 years, despite the efforts over the last several decades by some in the orthodox medical community to stamp them out as “quackery.” The author and her patients, and other practitioners, find them very useful for the alleviation of a variety of symptoms. In this review, the history of their use, possible mechanisms of action, and risks are discussed, as well as the validity of the attacks against them.

In this video, Dr. Isaacs present her view of coffee enemas:

Down with Coffee Enemas (2020)

The Safety and Effectiveness of Self-Administered Coffee Enema: A Systematic Review of Case Reports,” Heejung Son, Hyun Jin Song, Hyun-Ju Seo, Heeyoung Lee, Sun Mi Choi, and Sanghun Lee, Medicine, vol. 99, no. 36, 2020. The authors, at Seoul National University, Chungnam National University, and several other institutions in South Korea, and the University of Florida, report:

Relevant studies were retrieved from [the major medical literature databases]….

Nine case reports that describe adverse events were identified and included in the analysis. Of these, 7 recent ones reported colitis after self-administration, mentioning that the most plausible cause assumed was the coffee fluid itself, which contained numerous chemical substances. Two others reported more critical adverse events. All 9 case reports with acceptable quality of evidence warned against the self-administration of the procedure. No study that reports the effectiveness of coffee enema was found.

Conclusions: Based on the evidences reviewed, this systematic review does not recommend coffee enema self-administration as a complementary and alternative medicine modality that can be adopted as a mean of self-care, given the unsolved issues on its safety and insufficient evidence with regard to the effectiveness.

Previous Research on Coffee Enemas

We have reported, in the magazine and here on the web site, on some earlier research studies about coffee enemas. among the more popular of these are:

The Royal Treatment

Amateur research, some of it, speaks of coffee enemas as a refreshing approach to good health. Prince Charles of the UK has been reported to regularly boost and use coffee enemas as a health measure.

In this action video, a possibly amateur scientist nominative-determinedly named Anna Blackpool demonstrates the kind of therapy that Prince Charles supported on a gut level:

Study Hints that Low Viagra Price Enlivens Men in Sweden

Thursday, April 22nd, 2021

Cheap thrills save lives, some might infer from this new study:

Sildenafil and Suicide in Sweden,” Ralph Catalano, Sidra Goldman-Mellor, Tim A. Bruckner, and Terry Hartig, European Journal of Epidemiology, epub 2021. (Thanks to Staffan Yngve for bringing this to our attention.)

Here’s a plot of data from the study, which comes with the explanation “Observed (points) and expected (line) suicides among Swedish men aged 50–59 for 120 months beginning January 2005 and ending December 2014 (first 6 months of expected values lost to modeling). Lower than expected sequence of observed suicides marked with ‘X’ “:

The authors, at Uppsala University; and at the University of California, Berkeley; the University of California, Merced; and the University of California, Irvine, explain:

We use an intent-to-treat design, implemented via interrupted time-series methods, to test the hypothesis that the monthly incidence of suicide, a societally important distal measure of mental health in a population, decreased among Swedish men aged 50–59 after July 2013 when patent rights to sildenafil (i.e., Viagra) ceased, prices fell, and its use increased dramatically….

Consistent with the argument that suicides fell below expected values after the introduction of relatively inexpensive sildenafil, the differences between expected and observed values appear increasingly negative in the last 18 months.

The Need for Justifiable Busyness [study]

Monday, April 19th, 2021

If someone had told Sisyphus that he was no longer required to push a large boulder up a mountainside for all eternity . . . would he have carried on anyway? According to a 2010 paper in the journal Psychological Science, he might well have.

“Our research suggests that Sisyphus was better off with his punishment than he would have been with a punishment of an eternity of doing nothing, and that he might have chosen rolling a rock over idleness if he had been given a slight reason for doing it.”

The research team speculate(d) that :

“[…] most people today no longer expend much energy on basic survival needs, so they have excessive energy, which they like to release through action.”

And so, due to idleness aversion, prefer fighting each other, making money, or writing scientific papers. The authors offer some practical advice regarding their discoveries :

“For example, homeowners may increase the happiness of their idle housekeepers by letting in some mice and prompting the housekeepers to clean up. Governments may increase the happiness of idle citizens by having them build bridges that are actually useless.”

See: Idleness Aversion and the Need for Justifiable Busyness Psychological Science. 21(7):926-30. A free copy of which may be found here

Illustration source Wikipedia. Research research by Martin Gardiner 

Baseball / Medical Skills: The Hidden Ball Trick

Thursday, March 25th, 2021

This decades-old medical report has received surprisingly little attention from the baseball community. Baseball season is about to begin again, in the USA. Please alert anyone to whom this study could be useful:

An Unusual Foreign Body in the Rectum—A Baseball: Report of a Case,” M.P. McDonald and D. Rosenthal, Diseases of the Colon and Rectum, vol. 20, 1977, pp. 56-7. The authors report:

The following case illustrates the problem of an incarcerated object in the rectum. We describe the unique technique used to remove the baseball….

A 49-year-old man complained of his inability to void when he came to the Letterman Army Medical Center Emergency Room….The patient then reluctantly described his recent activity. He and his sexual partner had celebrated a World Series victory of the Oakland Athletics by placing a baseball (hardball) in his rectum because, as he put it, “I’m oversexed.” The presence of the baseball was confirmed by radiography (Fig. 1) and proctologic examination.

Under spinal anesthesia, the rectum was dilated and manipulations, including hooking the ball and pulling downward (enough to rip the cover of the ball), injecting air above the ball and giving downward traction, and obstetrical forceps delivery, failed….

[Eventually, an] assistant exerted digital upward pressure through the rectum and, combined with a force enough to raise the patient off the table, the ball was delivered through [a] colotomy.

This procedure differs, in most ways, from the traditional form of baseball’s hidden ball trick.

Improbable Research