Ig Nobels Honor Studies on Urination Duration; Speed Bumps for Appendicitis Diagnosis; Many, Many Stings — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
September 21, 2015

Ig Nobels Honor Studies on Urination Duration; Speed Bumps for Appendicitis Diagnosis; Many, Many Stings

By Kelly Young

Edited by Susan Sadoughi, MD, and André Sofair, MD, MPH

The annual Ig Nobel Prizes were awarded Thursday night, recognizing "achievements that first make people laugh, then make them think." Among the studies receiving the dubious distinction:

  • The physics prize went to a team that determined that all mammals weighing more than 3 kg "empty their bladders over nearly constant duration of 21 ± 13 s. This feat is possible, because larger animals have longer urethras and thus, higher gravitational force and higher flow speed."

  • The diagnostic medicine award went to researchers who found that acute appendicitis can be diagnosed by the amount of pain a patient experiences when driving over speed bumps.

  • The prize in physiology and entomology was shared by two groups. One ranks the relative pain imparted by different insect bites and stings. Another allowed honey bees to sting a researcher on 25 areas of his body; they determined that the skull, middle toe tip, and upper arm are the least painful locations, and the nostril, upper lip, and penis shaft are the most painful.

Reader Comments (1)

LORETTA SERNEKOS Other Healthcare Professional, Family Medicine/General Practice

I always ask patients who I suspect of having acute appendicitis if they experienced abdominal pain when they drove over a bump on the way to the office. I don't make the whole diagnosis based on that, though! Little did I know I was doing some Ig Nobel research.

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