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BMJ papers on ear growth and didgeridoo for sleep apnea win Ig Nobel awards

BMJ 2017; 358 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j4303 (Published 15 September 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;358:j4303
  1. Janice Hopkins Tanne
  1. New York

Two papers published in The BMJ have won Ig Nobel awards, which are given for “research that first makes you laugh and then makes you think,” at the 27th annual ceremony on 14 September at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The Ig Nobel peace prize was awarded to a Swiss, Canadian, and Dutch team at the University of Zurich for showing in a 2006 paper that playing the didgeridoo was a good treatment for sleep apnea and snoring.1 The Ig Nobel anatomy prize went to British GP James Heathcote, of Bromley, for research published in 1995 on how ears grow bigger with age.2

The event was produced by the science humor magazine Annals of Improbable Research and Harvard student organizations. Winners received a document signed by an actual Nobel laureate and a cash prize of a Zimbabwean 10 trillion dollar (£0; €0; $0) note.

Didgeridoo playing for sleep apnea was discovered by Alex Suarez, a patient who couldn’t tolerate the usual treatment, a mask that produces continuous positive airway pressure. Playing the didgeridoo strengthened the muscles …

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