Today I found a story on forskning.no about how people with epilepsy have a higher risk of drowning than people without epilepsy. At first I thought it was a joke, but I followed the link provided by the journalist at forskning.no to the original research article; Drowning in people with epilepsy: How great is the risk?, Bell et al., Neurology, 2008, 71, 578-582. No joke. I suspected that it was a crap piece of journalism, but upon reading the article, it turns out it was crap research instead. Using a spreadsheet, obituaries and medical records, they have figured out that compared to the general population, people with epilepsy have a 15-19 fold increase in the risk of drowning.
So let me get this straight; some hapless UK funding agency actually shelled out money to fuel some quasi-research concluding with a quantitative confirmation of the fact that if you have a disease which makes your entire body cramp up and leads to temporarily paralysis etc., you're more likely to drown if immersed in a body of water than the general population, everything else being equal.
Tell ya what; I've got some other research ideas for this particular group of "scientists", and I'm not even gonna claim co-authorship - as a matter of fact I demand that I NOT get my name on any paper associated with this bunch. Here we go:
* Does being blind significantly hinder a career as a NASCAR driver?
* The amputee and the ass-kicking contest: How much harder would one REALLY have to work?
* Running with scissors: Effect of crowd density
* Deaf/Mute telemarketers: Career detriment?
I think Good ol' Darth said it best: