Posted by: CJ | February 20, 2009

What I would give to see their research proposal…

So I was browsing in the science library today, as I’m liable to do to amuse myself, when I happened across an interesting article. It took me a few minutes to realize just what I was reading. So I’ll post the abstract and a few choice paragraphs so you can to. And yes, this was not only published but published in one of the leading statistics journals. The following is the abstract.

In this article we are concerned with functional imaging of the colon to assess the kinetics of microbicide lubricants. The overarching goal is to understand the distribution of the lubricants in the colon. Such information is crucial for understanding the potential impact of micro-bicides on human immunodeficiency virus transmission. The experiment was conducted by imaging a radiolabeled lubricant distributed in the subject’s colon. The tracer imaging was conducted via single-photon emission computed tomography, a noninvasive, in vivo functional imaging technique. We have developed a novel principal curve algorithm to construct a three-dimensional curve through the colon images. The algorithm was tested and debugged on several difficult two-dimensional images of familiar curves where the original principal curve algorithm does not apply. The final curve fit to the colon data is compared with experimental sigmoidoscope collection.

And here are the first few paragraphs of the introduction.

Antimicrobial lubricants could have a profound impact in the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Understanding the efficacy of these treatments requires understanding the anatomic distribution and the kinetics of viral-mixed semen, along with those of the lubricant within the lumen of sexually receptive organs, ideally under typical forces of vaginal or anal intercourse. If the lubricant had a low penetration or its distribution did not comport with the location of the viral-mixed semen, then its efficacy would be in question. But the complexity of the physical systems involved prohibit the analytical study of such questions. Instead, they must be evaluated experimentally.
This article considers data arising from one of the first experiments to empirically evaluate antimicrobial lubricants. As foundational research, its aims are focused, and thus we solely consider the problem of estimating the distributional penetrance of the lubricant after anal intercourse.
We now describe the experiment in greater detail. An over-the-counter lubricant was mixed with a radioactive tracer; this served as a surrogate marker for the antimicrobial treatment. This lubricant was inserted into a subject’s colon, and physical forces similar to those of anal coitus were subsequently used to distribute the liquid. The distribution of the tracer/lubricant mixture was then imaged using a single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) scanner.

I really have no idea what to say other than wondering about their funding sources.



  1. Okkkay….were there pictures? I’m hoping that was my tax dollars at work; I’m tired of paying to bomb civilians.

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