Brady bunching: Here is a story …

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 - laugh

In what might appear as nominal itself, a study on nominative determinism found that people with the surname Brady may be prone to bradycardia.

The results were published in the tongue-in-cheek 2013 Christmas issue of BMJ, which included topics such as health and laugher (“benefits of laughter include … reduced risk of myocardial infarction [presumably requiring hearty laughter])” and a quantification of James Bond’s alcohol consumption (“a retrospective literature review [in] the study authors’ homes, in a comfy chair.”)

Designed by a team of physicians at Mater Misericordiae University Hospital in Dublin, Ireland, the Brady study tested whether a person’s name could influence his or her health. The study was inspired by the concept of nominative determinism.

The team, led by John J. Keaney, now a research fellow in medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, culled online residential phone listings in Dublin and compared them to a database of pacemaker implantations at the university hospital in Dublin from 2007 to 2013. The proportion of pacemakers within the Bradys in the telephone listings was much higher than the non-Bradys (1.38 percent vs. 0.61 percent, for an odds ratio of 2.27).

“This increased bradyphenomenon in Bradys could be attributable to increased levels of bradykinin,” they wrote, or to genetic predispositions or, well, to a bunch of things.