Thursday, August 21, 2008

Breaking news and cutting edge research

Today I found a story on 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 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.

Ya think?

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:


Pigeon said...

Or can my mother run faster than Usain Bolt

Wilhelm said...

Quadriplegic pilots: Career detriment, or possibility for "out of the box" approaches?