Saturday, October 1, 2011

Worthy of an Ignobel Prize

One of the latest Ignobel Prizes was awarded for a study on the effects of a need to urinate:

The studies on pee pressure were conducted by two groups of researchers who found that the need to urinate affected decision-making by their experimental subjects. One group found that moderate stress seemed to focus attention on the tasks at hand, but the other group concluded that an extreme need to urinate reduced attention span and the ability to make decisions.

"When people reach a point when they are in so much pain they just can't stand it anymore, it was like being drunk," Peter Snyder, a professor of neurology at Brown University, told AP. "The ability to hold information was really impaired."

When I looked up the paper in question (located via Scientific American), I found (I added the bold):

Eight healthy young adults consumed 250 ml of water every 15 min until they could no longer inhibit voiding. Performance on standardized measures of cognitive function was measured at hourly intervals which were classified as baseline, when individuals reported an increase in the urge to void, a strong increase in the urge to void, an extreme increase in the urge to void and postmicturition.

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