And Now, a Needle in the Rectum (podcast #97)

What do doctors do when they find a needle in a patient’s rectum? A research study explores that very question, and we explore that study, in this week’s Improbable Research podcast. SUBSCRIBE on, iTunes, or Spotify to get a new episode every week, free. This week, Marc Abrahams discusses a published oh-look-there’s-a-needle-in-this-patient’s-rectum study. Yale/MIT/Harvard biomedical researcher Chris Cotsapas lends his voice, and his scientific expertise, and his opinions —with dramatic readings from a research […]

A telling typo: High Hell Shoes

A typographical error, like a Freudian slip, can sometimes reveal a hidden truth. An example — the phrase “high hell shoes” — appears in this medical study: “Evaluation of the influence of low and high heel shoes on erector spine muscle bioelectrical activity assessed at baseline and during movement,” Anna Mika, Łukasz Oleksy, Edyta Mikołajczyk, Anna Marchewka, […]

Medical assessment of comedians poking each other in the eye

In many old movies, slapstick comedians would poke other comedians in the eye. A Dutch medical team, writing in a Scottish medical journal, calculated the physical damage this would have done if the eye-poking had been real eye-poking, not just pretend, poking-fun poking: “Eye trauma in Laurel and Hardy movies – another nice mess,” Lara D.A. […]

Hats Off, or On, From a Medical Perspective

Are there hat-wearing patterns in spectators who attended baseball games — patterns that might be discernible over a ten-year period, patterns that might be exploitable? This study claims to begin to answer those questions. “Hat-wearing Patterns in Spectators Attending Baseball Games: a 10-Year Retrospective Comparison,” Aaron S. Farberg, Stephen Donohue, and Darrell S. Rigel, Cutis, […]

Fetish: Americans Shooting Themselves in the Foot

Theodore Cosco [pictured here], who is a past president of the Cambridge University Clay Pigeon Shooting Club, and James Harmsworth King display their unusual across-the-sea foot fetish, in this study: “Americans shooting themselves in the foot: the epidemiology of podiatric self-inflicted gunshot wounds in the United States,” Theodore D. Cosco and James H. King, Medical Journal of […]

Reduced Anxiety in Forensic Inpatients after a Long-Term Intervention with Atlantic Salmon

This is, so far as we are aware, the first published study that concentrates on anxiety levels in forensic inpatients after a long-term intervention with Atlantic salmon: “Reduced Anxiety in Forensic Inpatients after a Long-Term Intervention with Atlantic Salmon,” Anita L. Hansen, Gina Olson, Lisbeth Dahl, David Thornton, Bjørn Grung, Ingvild E. Graff, Livar Frøyland, […]

Ig Nobellian Milken, junk-bond king, now crusades for cures

Michael Milken, who was awarded the 1991 Ig Nobel Prize for economics, has become a crusader for medical legislation and funding. The Ig Nobel prize cited Milken as “father of the junk bond, to whom the world is indebted“. Sheila Kaplan, reporting for STAT, profiles Milken’s recent activities: WASHINGTON — Nearly 1,200 lobbyists roamed the halls of Congress […]