An ethics discussion of the “leg of lamp” medical case

September 22nd, 2014

This ethics discussion, broadcast in The Netherlands, concerns the man who lost his leg and gained a floor lamp, which we discussed here recently. Dr. Erwin Kompanje is the main medical discussant here:

UPDATE: The man is trying to sell his leg/lamp on Ebay for 100,000 euros:


Here’s a report about that, by HVNL:

Gluteal Aesthetic Unit Classification

September 22nd, 2014

“The idea of an aesthetically pleasing gluteal region has been with us since early recorded history. The ancient Greeks had nomenclature to describe an aesthetically pleasant buttock area: callipygian is derived from calli, meaning beautiful, and pyge, meaning buttocks.”

But, when it comes to surgical buttock re-contouring, not everyone’s idea of callipygia is the same. With this in mind, Dr. Robert F Centeno MD, FACS, MBA has developed a Gluteal Aesthetic Unit Classification, for the first time mapping and defining no less than eight Gluteal Aesthetic Units (pictured) which are, he says, useful for evaluating the gluteal region before undertaking surgical intervention for re-sculpting.Gluteal-units

“To achieve a successful outcome, it is imperative to understand the patient’s aesthetic ideal. Toward this end, this simplified ‘Gluteal Aesthetic Unit Classification’ tool can be very useful. Patient-supplied magazine clippings and digital image manipulation are useful in the informed consent process and further support the utility of this classification tool. Finally, to be successful in this arena, it is critical for the surgeon to set aside personal preferences and biases with respect to gluteal aesthetics. What you think looks good may be irrelevant if the patient disagrees.”

See: Gluteal Aesthetic Unit Classification: A Tool to Improve Outcomes in Body Contouring Aesthetic Surgery Journal 2006;26:200-208

Biological guestimates: Microbes, humans, and ants

September 22nd, 2014

Two questions that are easy to answer, unless you care whether the answer is accurate:

1. Is your body mostly microbes? Actually, we have no idea. By Peter Andrey Smith, in the Boston Globe.

2. Are all the ants as heavy as all the humans? By Hannah Moore, for BBC News.


A spirited editorial from The New India Express

September 22nd, 2014

Everyone, more or less, loves a spirited editorial. Here’s one, in the September 22, 2014 issue of The New India Express:


Nothing Ignoble About Humour in Science

Researchers who measured the slipperiness of banana peels, the ability of pork strips to stop nosebleeds and the reactions of reindeer to humans in polar bear suits were among the winners of this year’s Ig Nobel prizes for comical scientific achievements. Two Indian scientists have also won prizes at Ig Nobel awards for their offbeat research work. Dr Sonal Saraiya and her colleagues in Michigan found that packing strips of cured pork in a child’s nasal cavity could stop life-threatening nosebleeds. Naren Ramakrishnan and his colleagues investigated correlations in data on cat bites and depression. The annual prizes, meant to entertain and encourage global research and innovation, are awarded by the Annals of Improbable Research as a whimsical counterpart to the Nobel Prizes which will be announced next month.

Among the 10 awards, four went to researchers that took a peculiar interest in food. The prizes this year also went to researchers who measured the relative pain people suffer while looking at an ugly painting, investigated if cat ownership can be mentally hazardous and studied how people who routinely stay up late can be more psychopathic. Former “real” Nobel winners handed out the spoof awards at Harvard University in Massachusetts.

It will be unwise, however, to laugh at the idiosyncratic pursuits as something that can only be undertaken by researchers who have time on their hands, for it is possible that they can chance upon a valuable scientific discovery. While the differences between dog and cat lovers have long been studied, what hasn’t been is why some people do not like animals at all. This is a trait the animals intuitively understand as the author of Born Free noted in her pet lioness, Elsa. The lioness could even distinguish between those who loved her a great deal and those who loved moderately. Anyone who can successfully probe such secrets can graduate from Ig Nobel to Nobel.

Backstage at the Ig: Miss Sweetie Poo, 2 Greiders, a Maskin, and a Roberts

September 22nd, 2014

This fairly candid photo, taken backstage at the 24th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize ceremony, shows Miss Sweetie Poo, backed by (left to right) a Greider, a Maskin, a Greider, and a Roberts. Betsy Devine took the picture:

2014-09-18 Betsy Devine photo - Sweetie Poo, Greiders, Maskin, Roberts -450 dpi

BONUS: Video highlights of previous Miss Sweetie Poos in action: