I have previously tried to convince you that Public Health can be fun! Today I would like to add that some Public Health researchers have been really creative and I think their efforts deserve some sharing!
As a Public Health researcher, one might get ideas by just looking around and taking a note of the unanswered questions. Then one needs to find an appropriate design, implement it and seet the results. And that is what some researchers did! In this study that was published in BMJ in December 2010, they tried to answer a question that has been raised around the tables of Swiss and International fondue lovers alike: what is best for digesting a cheese fondue? Wine, black tea or schnapps? They tried to answer this important question by conducting a randomized, controlled, cross over trial. Watch all about it in this video! Apparently, they were not the only ones interested in this matter, as their article received a few responses at BMJ and quite a lot of media coverage (examples here, here and here).
Next one in the list of creative PH ideas has to be CDC‘s preparedness strategy during a zombie apocalypse, should there ever be one. The 253 comments this post received is quite indicative of how much people appreciate humor in PH . Or how much they are scared of zombies. You might smile all you want, but the existence of zombies has caused other scientists to ask questions as well. Questions like “How many zombies do you know?” ! (full title continues with “Using indirect survey methods to measure alien attacks and outbreaks of the undead”). In this funny article, Professor Andrew Gelman from Columbia University uses the zombie analogy to make a methodological point. He must have a thing for zombies, as there is even a zombie category on his highly recommended blog!
And the latest addition to my list of funny PH projects: Traumatic brain injuries in Asterix comics! (thanks Dominik for the link!). These researchers from the Department of Neurosurgery of the Heinrich-Heine Universitiy in Düsseldorf, Germany, thoroughly examined all 34 Asterix Comic books, in order to study the epidemiology and risk factors of traumatic brain injury in the Asterix world!
I hope you enjoyed my list! Did it give you any (weird) ideas? If you had the chance to study anything, without the risk of being called either crazy or time waster what would that be? Do you think we can benefit from humour in PH research?