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OUCAGS alumna Dr Helen Ashdown and colleagues were awarded the 2015 Ignobel prize for diagnostic medicine. The award was for establishing that asking patients about pain while going over speed bumps can help diagnose appendicitis.

Dr Ashdown is a GP and a former Clinical Academic Fellow at Oxford. With her colleagues, she asked patients who had been referred to the surgical team with possible appendicitis about their journey to hospital. They also checked whether these patients later had histologically-confirmed appendicitis. As a result of this research work, they established that asking if patients had felt pain when going over speed bumps is a good test (with 97% sensitivity) of whether they have appendicitis.  

Photo credit: briandeadly via photopincc unchanged