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Inmates’ Mutilate Private Parts &Ndash; Should This be a Research Topic?

Has science gone to far?

Sometimes science produces amazing findings, like how to cure disease or how to make the world a better place.  Maybe they look into the human condition in an effort to make us all better people.

None of the above seems to apply to the research done by a group of American scientists who, for reasons perhaps known only to each other, decided to investigate why three prison inmates decided to take pieces of dominoes and insert them into their own private parts (we’re talking about the most private of male private parts – need we explain further?).

Foreskin As Subject of Research?

The research raises serious questions, the foremost of which is — why?

The research, with the lofty sounding title of “Subcutaneous Penile Insertion of Domino Fragments by Incarcerated Males in Southwest United States Prisons: A Report of Three Cases,” was conducted by Drs. Steven Hudak, James McGeady, Alan Shindel and Benjamin Breyer of, respectively, the University of Texas Southwestern Medial Center, the University of California Davis and UC Sacramento, and the University of California San Francisco.  That’s a lot of academic institutions to study three inmates who if nothing else might be looking to plead insanity to whatever their crimes might be.

The researchers decided it was important – they don’t say why – for them to examine three instances of Hispanic inmates (again no reason given for why the prisoner’s inmates were significant) inserting foreign bodies (the aforementioned shards of dominoes) into the “subcutaneous tissues of the penis.”

Conclusion?  Don’t Do That!

In typical scientific fashion, the researchers calmly state that “details of the three cases were retrospectively reviewed” and conclusions and insights into the phenomenon were achieved.  In summary, it was determined that the inmate, or a fellow inmate, filed a domino into a unique shape for the sole purpose of inserting it into the inmate’s you-know-what.  To do so the tip of a ballpoint pen or sharpened piece of plastic was utilized to puncture the skin and insert the domino.

As might be inspected from such a vile and stupid action, each of the inmates developed an infection (to say the least) and required medical attention.

After studying the phenomenon, the scientists – in the best of scientific-speak – concluded that, “incarcerated males put themselves at risk for injury and infection when attempting penile enhancement with improvised equipment.”  You think?

Lest you find this report difficult to believe, click here to read about it for yourself.

Sometimes scientific research is just plain, downright absurd and clearly a waste of time.  In this case, the research – and more importantly the time and money spent on it – is so jaw-dropping that you think it’s crazy enough to have some real-world practical usage.  If that’s the case, the researchers, and the reports on their research, fail to tell us what the purpose might be.  And, it’s even more difficult to imagine what the purpose might be. So, perhaps we ought to give these scientists the benefit of the doubt and assume their work will lead to the betterment of humankind.   On the other hand … this has got to be one of the prize winners in the most inane research ever conducted.  And, you might ask, how do universities allow such work to be conducted, or made a higher priority for precious funds than something else that might be of more use to more people?

In the world of academic research it’s not a matter of what you publish, but that you publish something and keep doing so.  Perhaps it’s time for academia to say “whoa,” let’s put our time and money into something more relevant – like having professors actually teach students instead of staying bottled up in their research labs.  Is that likely to happen?  No.  Perhaps someone ought to do some research on why that is.

Click here for more articles by The Writin’ Cowboy.

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  1. CHIPMUNK

    On November 27, 2011 at 4:57 am


    An excellent analysis

  2. JoniJones

    On November 28, 2011 at 5:34 am


    I like it

  3. Alan W. Shindel, M.D.

    On February 24, 2012 at 9:30 pm


    Thanks for the publicity Norm!

    Fortunately a small case series such as this takes no money and little time to produce after regular lab/clinic/teaching hours. In fact it probably didn’t take us much more time to write up that manuscript than it took you to compose a 600 word blog post about what a waste of time it was! One round of peer review was all it took to get it out there in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, the #9 journal in urology/nephrology out of 69 similarly focused journals. Guess other experts in the field thought it was worth reading too…although maybe they should have consulted with you to determine this more accurately.

    Drs. Hudak, Breyer, and McGeady, and myself have numerous other clinical, teaching, and research activities that occupy our time. We’ll keep working on those multiple interests and look forward to more blogging from you!

    Alan W. Shindel, M.D.
    Department of Urology
    University of California, Davis

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