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BMJ paper wins Ig Nobel award for speed bump diagnosis of appendicitis

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: (Published 21 September 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h5007
  1. Janice Hopkins Tanne
  1. 1New York

The 2015 Ig Nobel award for Diagnostic Medicine, for a study showing that pain while travelling over speed bumps is a sign of acute appendicitis, was presented to Helen Ashdown and her UK team on 17 September at the awards’ 25th annual ceremony, held at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

The paper, by Ashdown and a team from the University of Oxford and Stoke Mandeville Hospital was published in The BMJ in 2012.1 It is the fourth BMJ paper to win an Ig Nobel award in recent years.2 3 4 The Ig Nobel awards honour achievements that first make people laugh and then make them think.

Ashdown, dressed as a speed bump and wearing a traffic cone for a hat, lay down on the Harvard stage while colleagues stepped over her and mimicked the effect on a person with appendicitis of passing over a speed bump. She told The BMJ that doctors had commented that patients with possible appendicitis often said that the pain was worse when their transport passed over speed bumps.

“I’m interested in evidence based medicine,” said …

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