NCBI ROFL: Parachute use to prevent death and major trauma related to gravitational challenge.

By ncbi rofl | February 16, 2010 7:00 pm

parachuteParachute use to prevent death and major trauma related to gravitational challenge: systematic review of randomised controlled trials.

“OBJECTIVES: To determine whether parachutes are effective in preventing major trauma related to gravitational challenge. DESIGN: Systematic review of randomised controlled trials. DATA SOURCES: Medline, Web of Science, Embase, and the Cochrane Library databases; appropriate internet sites and citation lists. STUDY SELECTION: Studies showing the effects of using a parachute during free fall. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Death or major trauma, defined as an injury severity score > 15. RESULTS: We were unable to identify any randomised controlled trials of parachute intervention. CONCLUSIONS: As with many interventions intended to prevent ill health, the effectiveness of parachutes has not been subjected to rigorous evaluation by using randomised controlled trials. Advocates of evidence based medicine have criticised the adoption of interventions evaluated by using only observational data. We think that everyone might benefit if the most radical protagonists of evidence based medicine organised and participated in a double blind, randomised, placebo controlled, crossover trial of the parachute.”

Read the full article here.


Thanks to Janneke, Eugene, Andy, Christy, and Ann for today’s ROFL!

Image: flickr/The U.S. Army

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  • Tomato Addict

    A classic from BMJ!

  • bobbicus

    Interesting, but I can see difficulty in designing a robust, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial for the effectiveness of parachute intervention, as it would be immediately apparent to the participants if they were in the the test group, or if they had received a placebo parachute.

  • Brian Gefrich

    I find that if you dilute a small amount of gravity in water, the resulting mixture will prove effective in promoting general free-fall wellness.

  • Carter

    What if you dilute a small amount of parachute cloth in water, and then spritz it out on your way down?

    Actually, the best way to empirically test this sort of thing would be to use a dummy loaded with sensors and breakable ligaments. No need for placebo parachutes because, since parachutes are not medicine, you shouldn’t need to address this aspect.

  • B

    You don’t need dummy parachutes because they may be a placebo. You need them as a control.

  • Flatterer

    I suspect that free-fall wellness is attainable even without the gravity and water mixture. A truer measure of the efficacy of this product IMHO would be impact wellness. But I guess free fall wellness would be easier to sell.


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NCBI ROFL is the brainchild of two Molecular and Cell Biology graduate students at UC Berkeley and features real research articles from the PubMed database (which is housed by the National Center for Biotechnology information, aka NCBI) that they find amusing (ROFL is a commonly-used internet acronym for "rolling on the floor, laughing"). Follow us on twitter: @ncbirofl


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