Ig Nobel research into call of nature wins prize
Published 01/10/2011 | 05:00
Driving while desperately needing to answer nature's call is not a crime, but maybe it should be, research suggests.
Peter Snyder and his colleagues found that having a bladder at its bursting point reduced attention span and the ability to make decisions to the same degree expected with low levels of alcohol intoxication or 24 hours of sleep deprivation.
The research has earned them the 2011 Ig Nobel Prize for medicine.
"When people reach a point when they are in so much pain they just can't stand it anymore, it is like being drunk," said Mr Snyder, a professor of neurology at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.
"The ability to hold information is really impaired."
The group even crowned an unofficial withholding champion -- the person who could go the longest before his bladder exploded. That was Australian researcher David Darby, who held out for three hours.
This year's winners of the dubious distinction, handed out at Harvard University for head-scratching scientific discoveries, included biologists Daryll Gwynne and David Rentz for discovering that certain kinds of beetles try to mate with certain kinds of Australian beer bottles.
The physics award winners worked on one of the great mysteries of sport -- why discus throwers become dizzy, and why hammer throwers don't.
Arturas Zuokas, mayor of Vilnius, Lithuania, won the Ig Nobel Peace Prize for his heavy-handed way of dealing with parking offenders. He crushed their cars with a military armoured personnel carrier.