The Clown, The Kids, the Botulinum Toxin

Experiments in Denmark explore what happens when you combine a clown, several children, and injections of botulinum toxin. Details are in the study:

Effect of a clown’s presence at botulinum toxin injections in children: a randomized, prospective study,” Lars Kjaersgaard Hansen, Maria Kibaek, Torben Martinussen [pictured here], Lene Kragh, Mogens Hej, Journal of Pain Research, vol. 4, September 2011. pp. 297-300. The authors, at Odense University Hospital, at Roskilde Hospital, and at the University of Southern Denmark, explain:

“The effect of the presence of a hospital clown during pediatric procedures has rarely been evaluated. In a pediatric ward, botulinum toxin injection is a painful procedure and a stressful experience for the child. We undertook a study of the effect of the presence of a hospital clown on children treated with botulinum toxin in an outpatient setting….This study raises the question of why the female clown had a positive effect only on girls at repeated treatment sessions and a negative effect on the younger boys at repeated sessions. There seems to be few plausible explanations for these findings, which were also unexpected to the skilled female clown.”