Don’t they cause enough pain and suffering as it is?

Wolf J, Curtis N. Brain abscess secondary to dental braces. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2008 Jan;27(1):84-5.

Blum-Hareuveni T, Rehany U, Rumelt S. Devastating endophthalmitis following penetrating ocular injury during night sleep from orthodontic headgear: case report and literature review. Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2006 Feb;244(2):253-8.

Fact: Orthodontic devices of all types are the spawn of the devil. Some go straight for your brain, while others prefer to wait until you are fast asleep and then poke your fucking eyes out.

And you thought the brown acid could mess you up

Pretty IA, Hall RC. Self-extraction of teeth involving gamma-hydroxybutyric acid. J Forensic Sci. 2004 Sep;49(5):1069-72.

Guy and girl are hanging out. Decide to get smashed on gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), a CNS depressant of historical medical use that is currently used as a recreational drug, as a date rape drug, and by bodybuilders looking to boost their endogenous production of human growth hormone. Bodybuilders are so weird.

At some point during their GHB-fueled escapades, eighteen of the girl’s teeth are extracted from her mouth with a pair of pliers. Not one, not two, but eighteen. Molars, incisors, canines, nothing was spared. The paramedics found a friggin’ bowl of teeth when they arrived.

Golf clubs are dangerous weapons

McIntosh BC, Strugar J, Narayan D. Traumatic frontal bone fracture resulting in intracerebral pneumocephalus. J Craniofac Surg. 2005 May;16(3):461-3.

Some college-aged kid got smacked in the face with a golf club, breaking a bunch of stuff that required a fair bit of surgery to repair. Kid shows up a couple of weeks later leaking spinal cord juice from his nose and complaining of headache. He is diagnosed with intracerebral pneumocephalus (IP), which is doctor-speak for having air inside your brain. Back to the OR he goes, where they somehow get the air out of his brain.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, IP is usually the result of being hit really hard in the head with something. Not only do you have to fracture your skull, you also have to tear the dura mater and arachnoid mater. Apparently one of the possible symptoms of IP is hearing a splashing sound akin to liquid sloshing around in your head whenever you move it.

Oh, and here’s a photo of IP:

i-137249f02c14f583d558ed168539945c-air in brain.jpg

Soft drink science

Belpoggi F, Soffritti M, Tibaldi E, Falcioni L, Bua L, Trabucco F. Results of long-term carcinogenicity bioassays on Coca-Cola administered to Sprague-Dawley rats. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2006 Sep;1076:736-52.

So apparently Coca-Cola causes breast and pancreatic cancers in rats. Better cut back on the Coke, kiddos.

Chung YW, Han DS, Park YK, Son BK, Paik CH, Jeon YC, Sohn JH. Huge gastric diospyrobezoars successfully treated by oral intake and endoscopic injection of Coca-Cola. Dig Liver Dis. 2006 Jul;38(7):515-7.

Huge gastric diospyrobezoars are huge solidified clumps of nondigestible food material (e.g. vegetable fibres) that can accumulate in your stomach and can potentially block things up real bad. Apparently Coca-Cola is so friggin’ corrosive (ever seen what happens to a tarnished penny after you leave it in a cup of Coca-Cola overnight?) that drinking a couple of cans of it every day for a few days can effectively dissolve diospyrobezoars. We’re talking about things that stomach acid couldn’t deal with!

Devlin H, Bassiouny MA, Boston D. Hardness of enamel exposed to Coca-Cola and artificial saliva. J Oral Rehabil. 2006 Jan;33(1):26-30.

Now we know why they call it a soft drink. Soft as in your teeth after you drink it. Hey oh!

Koenigs M, Tranel D. Prefrontal cortex damage abolishes brand-cued changes in cola preference. Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 2008;3:1-6.

Gee, somebody got paid off by Pepsi.

Ellertson C. History and efficacy of emergency contraception: beyond Coca-Cola. Fam Plann Perspect. 1996 Mar-Apr;28(2):44-8.

Hong CY, Shieh CC, Wu P, Chiang BN. The spermicidal potency of Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola. Hum Toxicol. 1987 Sep;6(5):395-6.

Aw yeah. There be fewer things less classy than douching with Coca-Cola after getting boned in an unprotected manner, and that shit won’t even do nothing! RU-486 is where it’s at.

DIY surgery: For the hardcore, desperate, or just plain mentally ill

The closest I’ve come to performing surgery on my self was the time I popped a really big zit behind my ear. Heck, that sucker might have even been a cyst or something. The cases I’ve managed to dig out and list below are, shall we say, way more friggin’ impressive. Oh, and Wikipedia has a neat little entry on self-surgery that is worth a quick read. Personal self-surgery experiences, as always, are welcome in the comments section!

Harper KA. Double fracture and wedging of a sewing needle interdentally in an attempt at self-treatment: a case report. Dent Update. 2002 Mar;29(2):78-9.

How in the nine circles of hell do you manage to break off two sewing needles while trying to perform dental surgery on yourself? We’re talking high carbon steel here!

Moholkar K, Krishnan J, Sampson B. Self-surgery: removal of ankle surgical implants–A case report. MedGenMed. 2000 Sep 1;2(3):E41.

Do those things itch or something? Perhaps somebody set off one too many airport metal detectors?

Bordier P, Robert F. Suicide by self-removal of a pacemaker. Am J Forensic Med Pathol. 2004 Mar;25(1):78-9.

And we have yet another nominee for world’s saddest medical case report! Have a nice day!

Radhi JM. Lipoma of the colon: self amputation. Am J Gastroenterol. 1993 Nov;88(11):1981-2. No abstract available.

Sadly, I have been unable to access anything more than the title of the article. Thankfully, the title seems to be fairly self-explanatory.

Beer and Science: Two great things together for one post only

Cunningham SC, McNear B, Pearlman RS, Kern SE. Beverage-agarose gel electrophoresis: an inquiry-based laboratory exercise with virtual adaptation. CBE Life Sci Educ. 2006 Fall;5(3):281-6.

Aw, universities. Engaging undergraduates by bringing beer into the laboratory. No, not hiding six-packs in the walk-in lab fridge (that’s for graduate students), but using Budweiser as a buffer for agarose gel electrophoresis! It works because it contains lots of anions and is subject to at least some quality standards, although there are many drawbacks, such as wasting perfectly good beer on science. And I imagine the apparatus is pretty gross afterwards. Although cleaning up lab stuff is what undergrads are for!

Guéguen N, Jacob C, Le Guellec H, Morineau T, Lourel M. Sound Level of Environmental Music and Drinking Behavior: A Field Experiment With Beer Drinkers. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2008 Jul 21.

Loud music apparently makes people drink more beer, and drink it faster. Because there’s not much else to do when conversation is impossible.

Geller ES, Russ NW, Altomari MG. Naturalistic observations of beer drinking among college students. J Appl Behav Anal. 1986 Winter;19(4):391-6.

Alternative title: Stuff you already knew about drinking beer, except maybe that bit about guys typically consuming 0.92 ounces of beer per minute at a bar which doesn’t sound like a lot. Pussies.

Toomey TL, Fabian LE, Erickson DJ, Lenk KM. Propensity for obtaining alcohol through shoulder tapping. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2007 Jul;31(7):1218-23. Epub 2007 May 20.

Hey there all of you underage A Good Poop readers! Medical science says that if you want to obtain alcohol, make sure you approach a man who looks like he just turned the legal age, preferably in an urban area.

The earwax studies

Yoshiura K, Kinoshita A, Ishida T, Ninokata A, Ishikawa T, Kaname T, Bannai M, Tokunaga K, Sonoda S, Komaki R, Ihara M, Saenko VA, Alipov GK, Sekine I, Komatsu K, Takahashi H, Nakashima M, Sosonkina N, Mapendano CK, Ghadami M, Nomura M, Liang DS, Miwa N, Kim DK, Garidkhuu A, Natsume N, Ohta T, Tomita H, Kaneko A, Kikuchi M, Russomando G, Hirayama K, Ishibashi M, Takahashi A, Saitou N, Murray JC, Saito S, Nakamura Y, Niikawa N. A SNP in the ABCC11 gene is the determinant of human earwax type. Nat Genet. 2006 Mar;38(3):324-30.

Okay, firstly, that’s a lot of friggin’ authors. What’d they do, give everyone in the department credit? Anyway, there are apparently two types of earwax, wet and dry. East Asians frequently have dry earwax, while pretty much everyone else tends to have the wet variety. Earwax type is determined by a single little G->A SNP in a region of the ABCC11 gene, which encodes a transport protein that presumably determines the water content of earwax.

Miura K, Yoshiura K, Miura S, Shimada T, Yamasaki K, Yoshida A, Nakayama D, Shibata Y, Niikawa N, Masuzaki H. A strong association between human earwax-type and apocrine colostrum secretion from the mammary gland. Hum Genet. 2007 Jun;121(5):631-3.

There, that’s a more reasonable number of authors. If you are a woman, the type of earwax you have may be associated with the quantity of colostrum that you secrete. Colostrum is a particular type of milk produced by mammals in late pregnancy and a couple of days postpartum. It is nutrient-rich, low in fat, and chock full of immunoglobulins and growth factors (thanks, Wikipedia!).