For Science!

I sometimes sign up to do various scientific studies for students at Aarhus University. I mostly do this because these students or researchers need help with studies and I have the time to participate. I get compensated with everything from wine, movie tickets, gift certificates or an symbolic amount of money. Sometimes that money is 800 dkk and I get to treat myself to a new hair cut or colour as it was this time. But mostly I do it to help people out because they need it and it is harmless. Most of the time.

Here is some of the studies I’ve participated in:

  • An eye tracking studie where I looked at images of frozen food packings and choose the one I like the best
  • A study where had to smell tea, taste jam and look at people’s faces and then a week later I was asked to see if I remembered what I’d smelled, tasted and looked at.
  • A couple of studies where I had to spend two and a half hours in a MEG scanner – fun fact I have a very symmetric skull – while watching Wallace and Gromit, Planet Earth or The Artist. All without original sound, but with various peeping noises/random syllables. These were followed by an MRI scan which I worked hard to overcome since I have a slight case of claustrophobia, but I’ve now learned the tricks for how to survive it.
  • One where I simply had to read and comprehend a text.
  • An audio/visual perception test which included a psychology evaluation.
  • Various listen to things and reacting or watch watching things and reacting.
  • A study where I answered a questionnaire about my fear of certain urban areas in Aarhus and then had to walk around in a park at night counting elements while wearing my heartbeat was monitored.
  • I sadly had to drop out of a ballon study due to headache and I still have no idea precisely what I would have had to do in that study.

So I’ve done a lot of different studies since my first one in the summer of 2013. This last study I’m doing today is a bit different. It is a pain study. And not just pain while doing the study, but pain for the next week at least.

The study is at the dentist school at Aarhus University and the researcher is looking at chronic pain in the chewing muscle – I’ve already forgotten the medical term – so in the group of healthy test subjects where I belong, they have to induce pain. Makes sense. So I was injected with a pain substance we already have in our body, but unlike the substance where I get to feel intense pain in ten minutes and then it is over, this pain will peak in three days and will linger for as long as two weeks. Yay. At least that substance induces modrate pain and so far I’ve only felt a little discomfort, which doesn’t count in the grand scheme of things. But we’ll see how I feel on Thursday. Or Friday when I get the intense pain injection.

I also got to have my first micro biopsy. It was weird, but not as bad as the researcher made it seem. It hurt, but what else can you expect from a needle and tiny tube inserted into your cheek followed by the removal of four 0,5 cm² pieces of your muscle.

Anyway, I only wanted to share some of my day which wasn’t mind numbing thesis writing. And take a break and write something that doesn’t have to be academic. Plus the bonus of having written a post and not just added images. Go me!


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