Sunday, 20 January 2013

The use of live Hip Hop performances as a tool in the early diagnosis of strokes

Enclosed below is the abstract of a study that I hope to submit for funding and peer review, with an eye towards publication in a reputable medical journal. Any criticism that you feel may improve the scope or efficacy of this research will be gratefully received. Meaningful suggestions and contributions will be fully credited in the final work.

Yours in science


The use of live Hip Hop performances as a tool in the early diagnosis of strokes 

Author affiliations 

The second album by Public Enemy - It Takes a Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back - blew my teenage mind, although its impact has been diluted by subsequent lesser works,  released mainly during the mid-late 1990s/early 2000s. 

I think that I once saw Wyclef Jean from The Fugees out and about in London , but I can’t be sure whether it was actually him, or somebody who looked a bit like him.


Objective: To determine whether live Hip Hop performances can play a role in the early detection of strokes.

Hip Hop and its derivations have come to dominate contemporary popular music. The genre’s emphasis on tight rhymes coming at you hard from the mic, courtesy of its most accomplished MCs, make it a reliable diagnostic tool. It is largely thanks to groundbreaking research by Flavor Flav, and his choice of an analogue clock as over-sized medallion, that we can confidently state, with a high degree of accuracy, what the time is at any given moment.  

In recent years a common feature of the live Hip Hop performance has been the incitement to “Throw your hands in the air and wave ‘em around like you just don’t care.” 

The primary aim of this ritual is to generate a party vibe. Since the inability of a subject to raise their hands above their head is also a dependable indicator of a stroke in progress, it seems likely that this well-established staple of Hip Hop performance might play a key role in the early diagnosis of strokes, and therefore hasten the speed with which medical treatment can be administered. 

Design: Meta-analysis of stroke-related symptoms among Hip Hop audiences. Control groups composed of audiences of bands such as Godspeed You! Black Emperor, where open displays of enjoyment of the music, beyond a subtle nodding of the head, are frowned upon, and the arms of the audience typically remain folded throughout the performance.   

Data sources: Party Hip Hop playlists or compilations. Basically anything with phat beats on it. Dubstep and any satellite genre that sounds like Techno leaking through the wall of an adjoining residence while, outside, rain falls on the plastic roof of a bus shelter, will be discounted as unsuitable, due to the unlikelihood of such music inspiring much care-free hand-waving. 

Review methods: Randomised trials correlating a live Hip Hop audience’s participation in hand-waving rituals with incidences of strokes diagnosed at said performances. 

Great care must be taken to exclude other factors that might repress or prevent hand-waving. On a basic level these include an unwillingness to join in due to shyness, an uncooperative personality, or known conditions such as autism or depression. 

The age of participants must also be taken into account. For attendees past the age of about 35, making any kind of abandoned spontaneous movement without warming-up first is inadvisable. Even allowing for a well-implemented pre-exercise regime, violently throwing your limbs in any direction is, in general, a very bad idea for anyone who is no longer in the flower of their youth. 

When reviewing elderly audience members, a slow and deliberate raising of a subject’s hands into the air, in preference over a sudden jerking movement that might conceivably throw their back out, may indicate a prudent sense of caution, as opposed to the gradual onset of a stroke.  
Another factor, again related to old age, that might prevent feckless hand-waving, is that accrued knowledge and experience can make it harder not to care about things. 

We must of course recognize that a responsible, fully-licensed and accredited MC will request that the audience wave their hands around “Like you just don’t care.” He or she is not for one moment suggesting that they should cease caring; only that they convey the general impression that, at this singular point in time, the fly rhymes coming from the mic have ushered them into a communal state of euphoria, in which their everyday concerns are of secondary importance to the performance currently unfolding on the stage.

Even so, pretending that you “just don’t care” can present a major challenge for the middle-aged, when in the back of their minds linger nagging doubts about raising children in a world where the boiler keeps going out and the price of apples on the open market consistently gallops ahead of inflation. 

It should also be noted that, in a club environment, other symptoms synonymous with the onset of a stroke, such as slurred speech, may be attributable to intoxication.   

Possible outcomes: New avenues of research. Possible endorsements by Doctor Dre and sponsorship deals from trainer manufacturers such as Nike and Adidas. Greater survival and recovery from strokes among fans of Hip Hop.  

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