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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

An Article on Bee Stings That I Did Not Write

In case you didn't notice, I have a pretty generic name, so whenever I submit a paper for publication, I sign my paper as "Michael L. Smith," so that I don't get completely lost among the crowd of similarly-named authors. But there are still other Michael L. Smiths out there, and sometimes they write papers.

Here, for instance, is a paper entitled Honey bee sting pain index by body location, written by a Michael L. Smith who is most certainly not me. Perhaps the abstract of the paper will clarify why I want to expressly disclaim authorship:

The Schmidt Sting Pain Index rates the painfulness of 78 Hymenoptera species, using the honey bee as a reference point. However, the question of how sting painfulness varies depending on body location remains unanswered. This study rated the painfulness of honey bee stings over 25 body locations in one subject (the author). Pain was rated on a 1–10 scale, relative to an internal standard, the forearm. In the single subject, pain ratings were consistent over three repetitions. Sting location was a significant predictor of the pain rating in a linear model (p < 0.0001, DF = 25, 94, F = 27.4). The three least painful locations were the skull, middle toe tip, and upper arm (all scoring a 2.3). The three most painful locations were the nostril, upper lip, and penis shaft (9.0, 8.7, and 7.3, respectively). This study provides an index of how the painfulness of a honey bee sting varies depending on body location.
Thank goodness there are people out there willing to do the research to answer these questions so we don't have to find out for ourselves. And Smith was diligent in his methodology. From the text of the article:

In total, three full stinging rounds were conducted at the Liddell Field Station of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York (42°27.6′N, 76°26.7′W). The author was stung over a total of 38 days, between 20 August 2012 and 26 September 2012. To keep the author as blind to the ratings as possible, notes were kept hidden from previous days. After two stinging rounds had been conducted (each stinging round covered all anatomical sting locations), the scores were reviewed, to see if there was a large discrepancy between scorings per sting location. Only one location differed by 3 units (foot arch), and two locations by 2 units (upper thigh and behind the ear). Even though the consistency between the first two rounds was high, a third round of stinging was performed.
Smith's article is...innovative, and it will be interesting to see if he survives whatever future research he has planned.

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