Will culture one day replace antibiotics?
ACCORDING to Texan researchers at the American College of Gastroenterology’s 76th Annual Scientific Meeting in Washington DC, playing Mozart while performing colonoscopies improves the adenoma detection rate.
A randomised controlled study using two experienced endoscopists and comparing Mozart to no music at all, found that the adenoma detection rate in the blinded endoscopist rose from 21% to 66%, whilst the figures for the unblinded endoscopist were 27% and 36% respectively.
These statistics throw up several rather troubling questions that the meeting seems to have failed to address:
1. Two-thirds of colons contain adenomata! Surely this renders them a normal variant.
2. Our most trusted non-musical endoscopists are only picking up on one in three adenomata.
3. The guy who knew what was going on only did half as well as the guy who didn’t know which way was up.
4. Blinded endoscopists are better at detecting adenomata than sighted ones.
The question, of course, still remains: Is Mozart the most effective tool in the fight against colon cancer?What’s to say that Beethoven or, on a clear day, even Hindemith doesn’t have a keener eye for mucosal irregularity?
It’s high time head-to-head studies were performed, comparing various composers and their effects upon disease detection in a variety of scenarios, in much the same way as cytotoxic agents are matched against a variety of tumours.
To take the analogy even further, it may be that two or even three composers played simultaneously might have a synergistic effect, building almost to a 100% detection rate. There are, of course, exceptions.
Seventy three per cent of endoscopists listening to Philip Glass repeatedly screened the same loop of bowel before ultimately falling asleep at the wheel.
Endoscopists listening to Wagner were 82% more likely to attack adenomata using napalm. Sixty nine per cent of endoscopists listening to Ross Edwards were satisfied with their lifestyle choices, despite the fact that 43% of their patients succumbed under anaesthetic.
Some endoscopists have pointed out that music is perhaps too powerful a tool for the average endoscopy. Inexperienced endoscopists, particularly, might be disheartened by such extreme detection rates, leading to feelings of remorse and a tendency to self-harm.
Such endoscopists might be more appropriately exposed to play-readings rather than music, the former diverting the mind rather than concentrating it.
Initial trials of Shakespeare, it was noted, resulted in theatres littered with bodies, and many hospitals, as a result, will now allow only Ayckbourn (and even then, only the first act).
Notwithstanding the challenges that still remain, there’s little doubt music has now taken over where antibiotics left off.
Fifth-generation endoscopes have inbuilt iPods, and Kanye West has pledged to colonoscope the entire A-Reserve at his next concert.