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5 weird scientific experiments: From two-headed dogs to beheading rats February 19, 2008

Posted by tomography in Off Topic.
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6 comments

Tomographyblog.com is a site dedicated to radiology and nuclear medicine, but we are still information hungry medical students, therefor we cannot ignore other areas of science. So today, I would like to share a couple interesting medical experiments with you that our forefathers committed, because, at the core of scientific development lies research. I would like to warn you ahead of time, that some of the writings and videos featured in this post may be disturbing to some, so do not turn the lights off when viewing these.

1. Let us start it off by Ian Oswald, a British psychiatrist, who conducted most of his research in the realm of sleep. In the famous 1960 may 14th article titled Falling Asleep Open-eyed During Intense Rhythmic Stimulation (free to download) that was published in the British Medical Journal, Oswald explains that he fixed his subject’s eyelids open with adhesive tape, and he did the following: he directed very bright light into his subjects’ eyes; he sent an electric current into their legs; and finally he made them listen to very loud blues music. Two of his three subjects were severely sleep deprived and only one got adequate sleep the night before the experiment, but surprisingly all three were sleeping according to the EEG 12 minutes into the experiment. What is the conclusion? Oswald concluded that monotonity might have been the answer to his findings, such that explains why we may fall asleep, even if for seconds, while driving on a long straight stretch of highway.

'Sleep' Ian Oswald

2. Carney Landis, a graduate student in psychology at the University of Minnesota set out to find out if emotions evoked characteristic facial expressions. He exposed his subjects to a variety of stimuli designed to provoke a strong emotional reaction. For instance, he made them smell ammonia, listen to jazz, look at pornographic pictures and put their hand into a bucket of frogs. As they reacted to each stimulus, he snapped pictures of their faces. The climax of the experiment arrived when Landis carried in a live white rat on a tray and asked them to decapitate it. Interestingly 2/3s of his subjects carried out his instructions! Does this sound all too familiar to you? If so, read on!

3. Indeed! The Milgram experiment: watch it!

4. Here is a great experiment conducted by the U.S. Army. In the 1960s while on a training flight at an altitude of 5000 feet the pilot notified all passengers that they were to make an emergency landing. A stewards distributed some papers for the passengers that they were asked to fill out just in case they were to die the Army wanted to make sure it was covered for the loss. Not surprisingly, the soldiers had a very hard time filling out the papers. When all of them turned in their papers, they were told that the emergency landing was only a joke.

5. But there was no joke to Vlagyimir Demikov’s research. During the dark ages of the Cold War he created a creature in a lab at the Moscow Institute of Surgery by grafting the head, shoulders and front legs of a puppy onto the neck of a mature German shepherd. When one “dog” wanted to eat, the other ate, and when the other “dog” drank so did the first one. You must realize that joining of nerve endings at the time was not possible so the dog whose head was operated on to the whole dog could not control their common body, but it was fully functional from the neck up. These dogs could not live long, and most died after a week or so. Demikov created 19 such dogs before terminating his experiments. Here are two shocking must see videos on this topic:

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