Thinking Ahead

An inexpensive and edible aid for the diagnosis of puberty in the male: multispecies evaluation of an alternative orchidometer

BMJ 2001; 323 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.323.7327.1486 (Published 22 December 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;323:1486
  1. Poonam Bhalla, British Heart Foundation junior research fellow,
  2. Sally , canine chocolate connoisseur,
  3. Pippa , junior canine chocolate connoisseur,
  4. Gareth Williams (garethw@liv.ac.uk), professor of medicine
  1. Diabetes and Endocrinology Research Group, Department of Medicine, University Hospital Aintree, Liverpool L9 7AE
  1. Correspondence to: G Williams

    Increasing testicular volume—a useful index of puberty in the male—is measured with an orchidometer, a graded series of ovoid beads on a string.1 This instrument is reliable, but at £28.50 ($43.00) it is prohibitively expensive, and it is usually unobtainable when needed.2

    Deeply concerned by the national shortage of orchidometers, two of us (PB and GW) made a serendipitous discovery that led to this study. Briefly, Teasers and Truffle, two chocolates in the Celebrations assortment (Mars UK, Slough), are uncannily similar in size and shape to the 8 ml orchidometer bead (figure). This observation presented a timely opportunity to cut clinic waiting times and costs, two problems that continue to dog the NHS. We therefore compared the conventional orchidometer with its chocolate surrogates, focusing on the key properties of reliability, durability, and palatability.

    Conventional 8 ml orchidometer bead …

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