IU STUDY REVEALS BAD NEWS FOR SMOKERS, GREAT NEWS FOR VICTIMS OF COCOLIZTLI EPIDEMIC OF 1576
While conducting research for a group project, five students in the School of Public Health recently stumbled upon an exciting discovery. I had the opportunity to interview the professor and one student behind the project to discuss this stirring news and what it could mean—both for IU students and the world.
I sit across from department professor Dr. Marcia Jaddison and undergraduate Chase “The Epidemiology Hottie” Hapner. Both the Community Health major and the School of Public Health Ph.D. confidently order the Hoosier Poutine and honestly I don’t blame them—it’s insane.
I ask Mr. Hapner about the class that led to this groundbreaking discovery.
“Well, uh I’m in B496 because it’s a requirement for my major. We were assigned this research project, and honestly I hate group projects but this one was fine I guess.”
Dr. Jaddison interrupts to explain that her Field Experience in Public Health Education class was divided into groups of five and told to conduct a study. The students were required to survey a random sample of Bloomingtonians but were given freedom to choose the topic, so long as the findings could lead to a significant conclusion about the state of public health in Bloomington.
“So anyway, yeah we just thought, we’ll cover smoking. Smoking is totally a health-ish topic. I mean show me one Reader’s Digest article that isn’t about smoking,” Hapner says. He and his four group partners decided to randomly select Bloomington citizens through what he called the “Scatter Surveys in the Hobby Lobby Parking Lot” method. Participants anonymously answered a series of questions about their lifestyle habits, their medical history, and their current health.
“We threw a lot of topics on there. We asked about smoking, and then we asked about diabetes, hypertension, and pre-existing heart conditions. Then, just to be safe, we copied and pasted a list of 780 diseases off of Wikipedia.”
After receiving around 1,000 responses over the course of two weeks, the group analyzed the data. What they found could change the state of medicine forever.
“Once we gathered the data and threw it on a line graph, we noticed a pattern. We first noticed that smokers had a higher rate of lung diseases. That made sense. But- uh- there was one category with absolutely no cases at all—the cocoliztli epidemic of 1576.”
Unbelievably, it was true. Not one participant of the survey, smoker or nonsmoker, reported a case of cocoliztli.
Dr. Jaddison informs the table of common symptoms of cocoliztli.
“It can include migraines, dizziness, fever, dark urine, invisible urine, ‘clammy’ urine, gelatinous urine, and death.”
Hapner continues reflecting on the moment his team made the discovery.
“It was amazing, looking at this data. We all just stood there for a moment, staring at the chart and thinking of all the people this could save.”
The team reported their unusual find to their professor, Dr. Jaddison, who then submitted the project to the entire department. In a unanimous vote, a nationwide investigative study was funded.
Dr. Jaddison excitedly tells me of the project’s progress.
“What we’re finding is that absolutely nobody has this disease. It is entirely possible that it has been eradicated for some time, possibly centuries. What I want the public to understand, both in Bloomington and throughout the world, is that this disease has come to an end. It’s over. Human innovation has truly come so far.”
It appears that this simple undergraduate study has uncovered a medical miracle that has somehow remained unreported until now: Smoking leads to lung diseases, and the cocoliztli epidemic of 1576 has been eradicated.
The case is currently being reviewed by the American Epidemiological Society. In the meantime, Dr. Jaddison invites the public to celebrate with loved ones.
“Appreciate this rare moment of serenity in the fight against human disease and suffering. Rejoice, for the cocoliztli epidemic of 1576 has, at long last, ended.”
Maria Bluck is a freshman at IU, majoring in God knows what. She is a member of Midnight Snack Comedy and you can follow her on Twitter @AiramAnnie.