Anyone who has ever worked on a medical study or clinical trial will know just how unusual and mysterious the human body can be. You meet up with patients, run tests and diagnostics, read countless case reports and collate the data only to occasionally come to a bizarre but indisputable conclusion. Here are just three medical studies that have turned up some truly unusual results…
Playing the didgeridoo helps sleep apnoea
Sleep apnoea is a disorder that affects large numbers of people, in particular truck drivers, and can cause daytime fatigue, snoring and interrupted sleep patterns. Respiration is halted while sufferers are in bed, preventing them from breathing for short periods of time and reducing periods of restful sleep. Somewhat unexpectedly, Swiss researchers discovered that playing the indigenous Australian wind instrument the didgeridoo could dramatically improve the lives of sleep apnoea sufferers. The sample group played the instrument every day for four months, and the data revealed that the circular breathing techniques employed by didgeridoo players resulted in a significant reduction in daytime sleepiness and overall sleep disturbances. Fancy that!
Country music increases suicide risk
We’ve long wondered what kind of masochist would voluntarily listen to country music, and thanks to social psychologists Steven Stack and Jim Grundlach, we now know that country music aficionados are not just masochistic, they’re actually suicidal! The pair undertook a study across 49 major US metropolitan areas and discovered that the frequency with which an area played country music on local radio stations was directly proportionate to the white suicide rate. After factoring in all sorts of different variables such as geographic location, climate and availability of firearms, Stack and Grundlach were left in little doubt that country music was to blame for the proliferation of suicides in some American towns.
Coffee drinkers see more ‘ghosts’
A study conducted in 2009 suggested that heavy coffee-drinkers – those who drink more than a staggering seven cups a day – are up to three times more likely to see or sense things that weren’t there than non-drinkers. The study, which took in 219 individuals, suggested that the caffeine fanatics had produced a higher concentration of the stress hormone cortisol, resulting in paranoia-induced hallucinations and a sense of ‘the presence of dead people’ in some participants. Seven cups of coffee a day never seemed like a particularly good idea to us anyway, regardless of hallucinations…
Your medical study may throw up some surprising results, or it may help to treat a very serious issue indeed. Regardless of its purpose, it is doomed to failure without an accurate set of data. To ensure that your data is accurate, relevant and comprehensive, use one of our flexible data capture solutions, or contact us to arrange a free, no-obligation workshop and we’ll work to develop a data capture strategy for your study together.