Yes indeed, the Christmas Issue of the 174-year old British Medical Journal has hit the shelves. And while this venerable and respected publication usually focuses it’s material on subjects of a more serious nature, every Christmas, the editors add research … with a twist.
Past years have asked the question of Why Rudolph’s Nose is Red, investigated using speed bumps in the diagnosis of acute appendicitis and The survival time of chocolates on hospital wards, as well as both attacking and defending Santa Claus as a public health role model.
It should be noted that while the subject matter may be unusual, the science behind the papers and their conclusions are real – so when The Darwin Awards: sex differences in idiotic behaviour points out males are the subjects of more than 88% of examples of ‘death by idiotic risk,’ you can trust those numbers. A look at the Use of Google Translate in medical communication: evaluation of accuracy is not especially encouraging – though not surprising to anyone who has used it. (In Polish “Your husband has the opportunity to donate his organs” translated to “Your husband can donate his tools.” In Marathi “Your husband had a cardiac arrest” translated to “Your husband had an imprisonment of heart.” “Your wife needs to be ventilated” in Bengali translated to “Your wife wind movement needed.”) A Cross sectional study of political affiliation and physical activity found that people identifying as more strongly left or right were generally more active that centrists, suggesting “…that they might be out agitating in the field, mobilising the community, and actively distributing ideas and propaganda.” An exploration of the basis for patient complaints about the oldness of magazines in practice waiting rooms concludes that it’s not so much a case of old magazines being put out as much as newer magazines ‘disappearing,’ while “Gossipy magazines (≥5 photographs of celebrities on the front cover) disappear more quickly than non-gossipy ones (the Economist and Time magazine).”
Other 2014 papers include;
Nintendo related injuries and other problems: review
Transmissibility of the Ice Bucket Challenge among globally influential celebrities: retrospective cohort study
Medical eponyms: taxonomies, natural history, and the evidence
Utility of Hippocrates’ prognostic aphorism to predict death in the modern era: prospective cohort study
And given the nature of the annual Christmas Edition with its blending of humour and medical science we’ll close with a study from last year’s collection – a Methodical Investigation of Risibility, Therapeutic and Harmful.