Friday Weird Science: Do Your Balls Hang Low?

Mar 05 2010 Published by under Friday Weird Science

Sci came across this abstract via NCBI ROFL, the aggregation site with some truly hilarious studies on it, many of them worthy Friday Weird Science materials. And of course this one is EXTRA worthy. It's from the Journal of Medical Hypotheses. Wither Weird Science, Medical Hypotheses, but for thee?
So, coming up into this next week, Sci is proud to announce an awesome series of guest posts. Seeing as we spent the last three weeks or so on female reproduction, it seems only fair to represent the other side of the coin, and so, for this next week, we'll be covering the basics of male reproduction, courtesy of the awesome and brilliant Ambivalent Academic.
And what a way to get into it...
ResearchBlogging.org Kumar and Kumara. "Swinging high and low: Why do the testes hang at different levels? A theory on surface area and thermoregulation" Medical Hypotheses, 2008.

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Friday Weird Science: Getting carpal tunnel could be more fun than you think

Jan 29 2010 Published by under Friday Weird Science

So after that whole myth about sex in space got thrown around and it turned out to be bunk (well, ok, I'm calling it bunk until I see the report my ownself, and I was SO happy to be able to say "sex...in...spaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaace...". Blah), I figure I owe you guys some REAL Friday Weird Science. Or at least, a really amusing hypothesis.
Ah, Journal of Medical Hypotheses. Where would we be without the hilarious, half-baked meanderings of people who submit their lightly-supported ideas to a journal with no peer-review?
I would like to dedicate this post to my laboratory manager. She is totally hilarious, and went through some rough surgery for carpal tunnel a few years ago. And now she's going to go through an even MORE rough time as I mock her for the next few years about how she GOT the carpel tunnel. Mwah-ha-ha-ha...
Kudos also go out to NCBI ROFL, who pointed me towards this paper in the first place. What's up, guys.
ResearchBlogging.org John Zenian. 'The role of sexual intercourse in the etiology of carpal tunnel syndrome' Medical Hypotheses, 2010.
Carpal_tunnel_splint.jpg

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In which Sci gets Snarky: Lithium in the Water

Aug 03 2009 Published by under Physiology/Pharmacology

This will otherwise be known as "WTF are you doing, Journal of Medical Hypotheses".
Sci likes Lithium.
lithium flame.jpg
(Lithium burns red. Sci thinks this could have applications for lightsabers if applied correctly)
It's a cool element, interesting in that we've used it over the ages for stuff like gout (which, I hear, is making a comeback), prevention of migraine, blocking the effects of excessive anti-diuretic hormone, and of course for bipolar disorder. But what's really interesting? We don't know how it works. Not a clue. It may raise serotonin levels over time, it may decrease or increase other monoamine neurotransmitter levels (such as dopamine and norepinephrine). But we have no idea HOW this occurs. In this, as with other psychiatric drugs (such as Ritalin, which increases dopamine and norepinephrine and improves attention, or with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which increase extracellular serotonin and alleviate depression), we don't know HOW they work. We just know they WORK (though we're working on that).
And THAT they work is what matters. When you're dealing with someone who is potentially suicidal, or unable to function successfully due to severe psychiatric disorders, you'll take what works and isn't otherwise "bad" for you (that you can tell), and figure out the mechanism later. And some of these drugs, like Lithium, are very old indeed. Lithium has been used to treat mania and depression since the 1870s, and is still used today as one of the most effective treatments for bipolar disorder (a topic which I SWEAR I will cover someday). It goes a long way toward reducing suicide in those with severe bipolar, and can help with mood stabilization as well.
So if it's been used that long, it must be good right? This means it might do everyone some good, right? Like, you could put it in the water, and it'd be fine?
ResearchBlogging.org Terao, et al. "Even very low but sustained lithium intake can prevent suicide in the general population?" Medical Hypotheses, 2009.

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