UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington under nine presidents and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

January 15, 2009

GREAT MOMENT IN RESEARCH

Marc Abrahams, Guardian, UK - Dr Mahmood Bhutta's greatest achievement - measuring the sound produced by a person with a hot potato in his mouth - has been overlooked in the flurry of attention given to his new study on whether sexual thoughts can trigger sneezing fits.

Bhutta practices surgery at Wexham Park hospital, Slough. The new paper, Sneezing Induced by Sexual Ideation or Orgasm: An Under-Reported Phenomenon, published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, has brought acclaim to Bhutta and his co-author Dr Harold Maxwell, a retired honorary senior lecturer and consultant psychiatrist.

Back in 2006, Bhutta worked at the Royal Sussex county hospital in Brighton. He and colleagues George Worley and Meredydd Harries examined the phenomenon known as "hot potato voice".

The study, Hot Potato Voice in Peritonsillitis: A Misnomer, appeared in the Journal of Voice. "Voice changes are a well-recognised symptom in patients suffering from peritonsillitis," it says. "The voice is said to be thick and muffled, and is described as a 'hot potato voice', because it is believed to resemble the voice of someone with a hot potato in [their] mouth. There have been few studies analyzing . . . the voice changes in tonsillitis or peritonsillitis and none that have compared these changes with those that occur with a hot potato in the oral cavity."

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