Thursday, April 22, 2010

Live from AChemS – 3

On the program at this morning’s poster session: a presentation called “Bitter taste can induce nausea.” Who can resist a title like that?

A quick glance showed that this was serious multi-center study by investigators at the Monell Center, Wake Forest, and Penn State. They measured subjective queasiness using a modified version of the Muth Nausea Scale. (Excellent choice!) For objective data they employed electrogastrography which uses skin-surface electrodes to measure muscle tension over the abdomen. (Urp!)

All that was missing was a standardized means of inducing nausea to calibrate the measures. No problem: you paint the inside of a drum with alternating black and white stripes, place it over a person’s head, and rotate it at 10 rpm. The volunteer arrives in barf city in no time flat. (Neato.

Oh, and just holding a very bitter liquid in one’s mouth for three minutes induces nausea in about half the people who try it. Sounds like a great party trick.

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