Friday, April 1, 2011

Do you want a doctor that clowns around?

Medgadget reported last month on a study in Fertility and Sterility which randomly assigned women undergoing IVF to an encounter with a "medical clown" and showed an increase in successful births from 20.2% to 36.4%. Now, we might all be able to imagine that you could use clowns to reduce pain scores in children, or possibly to scare the living daylights out of people with coulrophobia, but improving fertility? Perhaps there is something about the hormonal environment that improves fertility when the mother is happy and laughing? The abstract is the only text of the article I can access right now, but the statistics they report suggest that the effect might be real, but it might also be a spurious finding and we will not really know until the results can be replicated. In the meantime, I will have to entertain myself with the idea of a "clown consultation service", and I will also have to refrain from any jokes about which other specialties should be first in line to staff such a service.

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