The British Medical Journal, in a tradition dating back some 30 years, features some unusual research in its annual Christmas issue – research that is entirely sound from a scientific viewpoint, but perhaps a bit skewed from every other viewpoint.
Past offerings have addressed such phenomena as “Head and neck injury risks in heavy metal: head bangers stuck between rock and a hard bass,” investigated those in the health professions by testing “…the hypothesis that, on average, male surgeons are taller and better looking than male physicians…,” and fearlessly tackled such touchy subjects as, “The case of the disappearing teaspoons: longitudinal cohort study of the displacement of teaspoons in an Australian research institute.”
This year, the BMJ’s groundbreaking research asks “Is caviar a risk factor for being a millionaire?,” investigates “Nominal ISOMERs (Incorrect Spellings Of Medicines Eluding Researchers),” stays on top of current (or hopefully, already ‘over’) fads with, “Gotta catch’em all! Pokémon GO and physical activity among young adults: difference in differences study,” and risks unleashing pre-Christmas anarchy by Dispelling the nice or naughty myth: retrospective observational study of Santa Claus.
And finally, in a meeting of the performing and the medical arts, “A Christmas Renaissance,” touches upon Shakespeare’s ‘dramatic’ use of (among other things) uroscopy, amputation, hysteria, dementia, syphilis, midwifery, gout, poisons, homeopathy, fistulas, nursing, epidemics, death, toothache, sphygmology, and of course, constipation. O brave new world! That has such science in’t!