Best of PubMed #19

The cheerleader who won’t shake her pom pons.

Tremblay P.

Int J Orthod Milwaukee. 2008 Spring;19(1):37.

PMID: 18512662

Why Barbie is perceived as beautiful.

Magro AM.

Percept Mot Skills. 1997 Aug;85(1):363-74.

PMID: 9293600

Why Barbie feels heavier than Ken: the influence of size-based expectancies and social cues on the illusory perception of weight.

Dijker AJ.

Cognition. 2008 Mar;106(3):1109-25. Epub 2007 Jun 27.

PMID: 17599820

Math is hard, Barbie said.

Begley S.

Newsweek. 2008 Oct 27;152(17):57.

PMID: 18972952

Mathematicians talk tough to new barbie.

[No authors listed]

Science. 1992 Oct 16;258(5081):396.

PMID: 17833126

Can we keep up with Barbie?

Lamacki WF.

CDS Rev. 2009 May-Jun;102(3):48.

PMID: 19530471

Slip an extra locust on the barbie?

Delamothe T.

BMJ. 2013 May 20;346:f3293. doi: 10.1136/bmj.f3293.

PMID: 23690504

The young and the clueless.

Bunker KA, Kram KE, Ting S.

Harv Bus Rev. 2002 Dec;80(12):80-7, 133.

PMID: 12510540

Older male vs. younger female: a lawsuit waiting to happen.

Talbot T.

J Mich Dent Assoc. 2010 Dec;92(12):20.

PMID: 21291087

Ideal female brow aesthetics.

Griffin GR, Kim JC.

Clin Plast Surg. 2013 Jan;40(1):147-55. doi: 10.1016/j.cps.2012.07.003. Epub 2012 Sep 8. Review.

PMID: 23186765

Are there pit bulls with lipstick in your midst?

Briles J.

Tar Heel Nurse. 2009 Jul-Sep;71(3):13-4.

PMID: 19637643

NIH peer review reform–change we need, or lipstick on a pig?

Fang FC, Casadevall A.

Infect Immun. 2009 Mar;77(3):929-32. doi: 10.1128/IAI.01567-08.

PMID: 19168745

Do cosmetics enhance female Caucasian facial attractiveness?

Mulhern R, Fieldman G, Hussey T, Lévêque JL, Pineau P.

Int J Cosmet Sci. 2003 Aug;25(4):199-205. doi: 10.1046/j.1467-2494.2003.00188.x.

PMID: 18494902 [PubMed]

Improving lip wrinkles: lipstick-related image analysis.

Ryu JS, Park SG, Kwak TJ, Chang MY, Park ME, Choi KH, Sung KH, Shin HJ, Lee CK, Kang YS, Yoon MS, Rang MJ, Kim SJ.

Skin Res Technol. 2005 Aug;11(3):157-64.

PMID: 15998326

Lipstick and pearls.

Perrier ND.

Surgery. 2002 Jun;131(6):663-4.

PMID: 12075179

Being Barbie: the size of one’s own body determines the perceived size of the world.

van der Hoort B, Guterstam A, Ehrsson HH.

PLoS One. 2011;6(5):e20195. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0020195. Epub 2011 May 25.

PMID: 21633503


A classical question in philosophy and psychology is if the sense of one’s body influences how one visually perceives the world. Several theoreticians have suggested that our own body serves as a fundamental reference in visual perception of sizes and distances, although compelling experimental evidence for this hypothesis is lacking. In contrast, modern textbooks typically explain the perception of object size and distance by the combination of information from different visual cues. Here, we describe full body illusions in which subjects experience the ownership of a doll’s body (80 cm or 30 cm) and a giant’s body (400 cm) and use these as tools to demonstrate that the size of one’s sensed own body directly influences the perception of object size and distance. These effects were quantified in ten separate experiments with complementary verbal, questionnaire, manual, walking, and physiological measures. When participants experienced the tiny body as their own, they perceived objects to be larger and farther away, and when they experienced the large-body illusion, they perceived objects to be smaller and nearer. Importantly, despite identical retinal input, this “body size effect” was greater when the participants experienced a sense of ownership of the artificial bodies compared to a control condition in which ownership was disrupted. These findings are fundamentally important as they suggest a causal relationship between the representations of body space and external space. Thus, our own body size affects how we perceive the world.


Best of PubMed #18

The muddy catfish.
Campbell BA.
J Pastoral Care Counsel. 2008 Spring-Summer;62(1-2):157-8.
PMID: 18572554

Don’t call me ‘four eyes’.
Springen K.
Newsweek. 2004 Oct 4;144(14):65-6.
PMID: 15516105

“Don’t look back; something might be gaining on you”.
Alpert JS.
Am J Med. 2009 Oct;122(10):885.
PMID: 19786151

Just don’t call me Mr. Mom.
Braiker B.
Newsweek. 2007 Oct 8;150(15):52-5.
PMID: 19178109

[Misunderstandings – man has 4 ears].
Niedermeyer M.
Aktuelle Urol. 2012 May;43(3):147-8. German.
PMID: 22950137

It wasn’t my fault….
Freeman JW.
S D Med. 2006 Nov;59(11):483-4.
PMID: 17180848

Make a stink.
Linton O.
Acad Radiol. 2008 Aug;15(8):1082.
PMID: 18620129

Computers, doctors, and toilet training.
Greene AR.
MedGenMed. 2000 Dec 11;2(6):E5.
PMID: 11335855

Apostrophe catastrophe.
McNamee D.
Lancet. 2006 Nov 11;368(9548):1636.
PMID: 17098068

Uncle Ernie and friends.
Goodman JR.
Cell Mol Biol (Noisy-le-grand). 2005 Sep 5;51(2):125-31.
PMID: 16178125

Curing lawyers.
Friedman JH.
Med Health R I. 2005 Apr;88(4):106.
PMID: 15974043

Questionless answers.
Carroll RJ.
J Indiana Dent Assoc. 2008 Fall;87(3):33.
PMID: 19248339

Hissy fits revividus.
Hall PF.
CMAJ. 1998 Dec 15;159(12):1478-9.
PMID: 9875255

[How to kill your own lecture].
Cervenka J.
Cesk Epidemiol Mikrobiol Imunol. 1991 Mar;40(2):115-9. Slovak.
PMID: 1827361

Note: This one was submitted by Robert Zinzen, new group leader at BIMSB, MDC – Thanks, Robert!
Law of Urination: all mammals empty their bladders over the same duration
Patricia J. Yang, Jonathan C. Pham, Jerome Choo, David L. Hu

The urinary system evolved to eject fluids from the body quickly and efficiently. Despite a long history of successful urology treatments in humans and animals, the physics of urination has received comparatively little attention. In this combined experimental and theoretical investigation, we elucidate the hydrodynamics of urination across five orders of magnitude in animal mass, from mice to elephants. Using high-speed fluid dynamics videos and flow-rate measurement at Zoo Atlanta, we discover the “Law of Urination”, which states animals empty their bladders over nearly constant duration of average 21 seconds (standard deviation 13 seconds), despite a difference in bladder volume from 100 mL to 100 L. This feat is made possible by the increasing urethra length of large animals which amplifies gravitational force and flow rate. We also demonstrate the challenges faced by the urinary system for rodents and other small mammals for which urine flow is limited to single drops. Our findings reveal the urethra evolved as a flow-enhancing device, enabling the urinary system to be scaled up without compromising its function. This study may help in the diagnosis of urinary problems in animals and in inspiring the design of scalable hydrodynamic systems based on those in nature.

Best of PubMed #17

Don’t make me take off my belt.
Horseman RE.
J Calif Dent Assoc. 2003 Feb;31(2):174, 173.
PMID: 12636321

Dentists are suicidal.
Worley KF.
J La Dent Assoc. 1977 Summer;35(2):6.
PMID: 267692

Have you told your laboratory man you love him?
Schwartz LJ.
Ill Dent J. 1977 Jun;46(6):281. No abstract available.
PMID: 275213

Are you expecting a miracle?
Hardy F, Stuart LM, Ross LA.
J Md State Dent Assoc. 1982 Apr;25(1):19-20.
PMID: 7042882

YouTube: Increasing your bug views.
Frischknecht F.
Biotechnol J. 2009 Jun;4(6):786.
PMID: 19548247

Helium walks into a bar…
Malow B.
Nature. 2008 Dec 11;456(7223):709.
PMID: 19079038

[“Will you play with me?”].
Le Moal-Sommaire A.
Soins Psychiatr. 1999 Jul-Aug;(203):4-6. French.
PMID: 10876575

What the domestic found.
McLeod J.
Nurs Times. 1978 Oct 12;74(41):1695.
PMID: 250759

[A dialogue between a meridian and a traveller].
Flora F.
Assist Inferm Ric. 2008 Apr-Jun;27(2):108-11. Italian.
PMID: 18630495

Not quite right in the head.
Eaton L.
Ment Health Today. 2009 Apr:32-3.
PMID: 19408381

Frogs on a plane.
Rigg J.
Science. 2008 Jul 4;321(5885):37.
PMID: 18599759

‘Give ’em the old razzle dazzle’.
Stein WE.
Northwest Dent. 2003 Sep-Oct;82(5):10.
PMID: 14603633

When the plumbing failed: an allegory.
Freeman JW.
S D J Med. 2002 Feb;55(2):57-8.
PMID: 11865706

Weeds up her bottom.
Levy R.
Br Dent J. 2001 Feb;Suppl:20-2.
PMID: 11246994

Best of PubMed #16

You’d better bring your own meat sauce.
Stewart RW.
Indiana Med. 1985 Feb;78(2):140, 142.
PMID: 3973374

It’s 8 a.m.: do you know where your paradigm is?
Hutchins HA.
Hosp Mater Manage Q. 1997 Aug;19(1):6-11.
PMID: 10168475

I can make your brain look like mine.
Hasson U.
Harv Bus Rev. 2010 Dec;88(12):32-3.
PMID: 21188897

[Tooth dye in humorous poems].
Takahashi M.
Dentisuto. 1975;1(1):104-5. Japanese.
PMID: 782935

Effect of alcoholic intoxication on the appreciation of different types of humor.
Weaver JB, Masland JL, Kharazmi S, Zillmann D.
J Pers Soc Psychol. 1985 Sep;49(3):781-7.
PMID: 4045704

The lecture from hell.
Ernst E.
Complement Ther Nurs Midwifery. 2003 Nov;9(4):209-10.
PMID: 14556771

Gossip, humor, and the art of becoming an intimate of Jesus.
Capps D.
J Relig Health. 2012 Mar;51(1):99-117.
PMID: 20652409

A funny thing happened on the way to the scanner…
Taylor R.
Anaesthesia. 1998 Dec;53(12):1237.
PMID: 10193246

Take the rabbits.
Shimp WS.
Ann Intern Med. 2009 Dec 1;151(11):820.
PMID: 19949150

I’m Barbarella, fly me.
Radcliffe M.
Nurs Times. 1995 Feb 15-22;91(7):165.
PMID: 7885882

A farewell to arm.
Orenstein JB.
Ann Emerg Med. 2000 Nov;36(5):536-7.
PMID: 11054212

Nursing bra brouhaha.
Napoli M.
Am J Nurs. 2009 Jul;109(7):13.
PMID: 19546623

Cheap thrills #1: It’s Godzilla! No, wait, just a really big platypus!

“Cheap thrills” is a new column devoted to those cases in which scientists and/or their media cronies go waaaay out and oversell a story to get HITS on their websites. Sometimes this reflects nothing more than the heavy hand of an over-caffeinated headline writer, but sometimes the scientist is fully complicit. For example…

For those of you who missed this magnificent story yesterday, researchers from the University of New South Wales in Australia have discovered GODZILLA! Well, not really; they found a fossil of a platypus. And it was an astounding TWO TIMES the size of a modern platypus – over a meter long!!! This dramatic discovery, naturally, prompted one of the discoverers to call the beast “Godzilla”. See the story here:

My memory of Godzilla is a city-crunching lizard, about 1,000x the dimensions of anything found in nature today, several times the size of the largest dinosaurs… But a three-foot platypus? Give me a break. Is there something about Australia that makes everything look bigger, or is it just me?

This is not just the work of a press officer; the scientists played along. Here are some quotes from the original article:

“It pretty well blew our minds,” University of New South Wales professor Mike Archer told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. of the animal, which is estimated to be about twice the size of the modern platypus.

“And then bang out of the blue drops this monster. Platypus Godzilla.”

And my favorite: Archer goes on to say…

“Platypus Godzilla. You can imagine the humorous scenes where somebody looks at the modern platypus and says ‘That’s not a platypus’ and and then picks up this monster and says ‘That’s a platypus’.”

Sigh. Evidence that scientists have a sense of humor? All right, it’s painful, but at least give them marks for making an effort…?

Another headline for this winning story:

“Scientists discover monstrous, flesh-eating platypus”

from the link:

At least that story’s a little more… modest. This press release quotes another researcher on the paper, Suzanne Hand, who seems a bit less outspoken. Sorry, Mike, I’ll be getting my news from Suzanne from now on.