Stuff that occurs to me

All of my 'how to' posts are tagged here. The most popular posts are about blocking and private accounts on Twitter, also the science communication jobs list. None of the science or medical information I might post to this blog should be taken as medical advice (I'm not medically trained).

Think of this blog as a sort of nursery for my half-baked ideas hence 'stuff that occurs to me'.

Contact: @JoBrodie Email: jo DOT brodie AT gmx DOT com

Science in London: The 2016 scientific society talks in London blog post

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Paper clips in the service of medical science

I don't usually PubMedGoogle (PMoogle?) for the words paperclips or paper clips. Today I did, after reading a colleague's paper on 'resilience markers framework' (http://www.cs.ucl.ac.uk/staff/d.furniss/Documents/ResilienceMarkersFramework_rev2.pdf) which briefly featured a mildly heroic role for a paperclip.

The paper clip (is it one word or two?) was used to mark an important page in the procedural instructions that would be needed quickly to bring a nuclear power plant under control if it went a bit cheeky. The paper clip's use was a small example indicating that the power plant team was building resilience into their system to help them handle unexpected problems or errors.

When I read this I wondered if there were other ways in which paper clips have gone beyond the call of duty / remit to help humanity.

Yes.

Abstracts or full article below unless otherwise stated.

Retraction of Oedematous Eyelids with Paper-Clips
Leo H-H Cheng and Pragia Kumar
Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 2008 April; 90(3): 253.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2430453/
Warning: this website has a thumbnail black and white image of paperclips being used to hold open eyelids - it's not bad, but I don't know how squeamish people reading might be.

Establishing a reliable protocol to measure tongue sensation.
Boliek CA, Rieger JM, Li SY, Mohamed Z, Kickham J, Amundsen K.
J Oral Rehabil. 2007 Jun;34(6):433-41.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17518978

Paperclips for ear lobule repair.
Koshy O.
J Plast Reconstr Aesthet Surg. 2006;59(9):1008-9. Epub 2006 Mar 9.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16920599
(no abstract available)

Airways, paper clips, and nasogastric tubes.
Luke SJ.
Anesth Analg. 1995 Jul;81(1):208-9.
http://www.anesthesia-analgesia.org/content/81/1/208.long

The literature doesn't have as much to say on Post It notes.

EDIT 22 July 2010 afternoon: A colleague, similarly intrigued by the hidden role of paper clips, sent me a copy of an article from the Law Library. I'll be reading that on the train home, along with @jackofkent's blogpost on the recent Scientology kerfuffle.

Something Little and Shiny on the Judicial Stage: The Paper Clip
Jay W. Stein (p.323)
Law Library Journal Volume 86 Number 2 1994
http://bubl.ac.uk/archive/journals/llj/v86n0294.htm
http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2009/may/19/paper-clips-legal-appearances

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