They Needed a Study to Tell Them This!!!

by DavalosMcCormack on February 3, 2010

Sometimes something seems so obvious you don’t even need to point it out. But not apparently if you are a medical researcher. It seems that nothing is so patently clear that they can’t find some pretext to get research dollars to tell us what we already know.

For instance, a new study in the journal Spine says that heavy backpacks put a lot of extra weight on a child’s spine, and the heavier the backpack the more weight and the greater the potential for pain. No kidding! And they needed a study to tell us that?

They could just have gone to any school and seen the kids coming out, doubled over like a fourth grade Quasimodo as they struggle to make it home or to their parent’s car with the equivalent of a small cow on their back. Now, maybe that’s not as thoroughly scientific as doing a randomised control study with complex statistical analysis but you know what, it’s just as true. Or they could just have asked the kids. That would work too.

Here’s my current favorite study. Those lovely people at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that antibiotics that can cause hearing loss in people can actually, when given in extended low doses, protect the hearing of young mice.  You read that correctly, young mice.

Why is this important? Is there a big problem among the adolescent mouse population regarding hearing loss that we need to get to the bottom of (too many mice wearing their iPods too long at high volume no doubt). Are juvenile rodents walking around with ear trumpets so they can hear the delighted squeals of their brothers and sisters who have found a lump of cheese. Who even came up with the premise for this study and thought “hmm, I wonder if this antibiotic which causes hearing loss in people could help protect some other mammalian species?”

Or was it just the pharmaceutical company that makes the antibiotic looking for another market because clearly the human market for a drug that makes you deaf is going to be rather small. But think of the consequences. Now all this mice will be able to hear us setting mouse traps or putting down poison so they know to avoid them. Pretty soon our homes and our cities will be overun with mice spreading plagues and disease and all manner of unpleasant things.

The young mice of the world thank you Professor William W. Clark, PhD. The rest of us, well, we’re not so keen on it.

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