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Coke/Pepsi Research: Kangaroos, Sperm, and Killer Bees

The following is an article from The Annals of Improbable Research.

Dramatic discoveries about celebrated colas
compiled by Honoré Schoolcraft, Improbable Research staff

Coke Is It
“Effect of ‘Coke’ on Sperm Motility,” Sharee A. Umpierre, Joseph A. Hill and Deborah J. Anderson,
New England Journal of Medicine, vol. 313, no. 21, 1985,  p. 1351.

No, It’s Not
“The Spermicidal Potency of Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola,” C.Y. Hong, C.C. Shieh, P. Wu and B.N. Chiang, Human Toxicology, vol. 6, no. 5, September 1987, pp. 395–6. The authors, who are at Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Republic of China, explain their findings thusly:

The inhibitory effect of Old Coke, caffeine-free New Coke, New Coke, Diet Coke and Pepsi-Cola on human sperm motility was studied with a trans-membrane migration method. None of them could decrease sperm motility to less than 70% of control within one hour. A previous study which claimed a marked variation of spermicidal potencies among different formulations of Coca-Cola could not be confirmed. Even if cola has a spermicidal effect, its potency is relatively weak as compared with other well-known spermicidal agents.

Four Liters of Coke and  Some Kangaroos
“Coca-Cola and Kangaroos,” D.W. Mudge and D.W. Johnson, Lancet, vol. 364, no. 9440, September 25, 2004, p. 1190. The authors report that:

In March, 2002, a 44-year-old ostrich farmer from outback Australia experienced a sudden onset of muscle weakness after returning home from an evening of shooting kangaroos.... On further questioning, the patient admitted consuming approximately 4 liters of Coca-Cola most days, and up to 10 liters when he went kangaroo shooting at night.... He had been drinking these quantities of cola for the previous 3 years.

Coke Up the Nose 1
“Gastric Phytobezoars May Be Treated by Nasogastric Coca-Cola Lavage,” Spiros D. Ladas, Konstantinos Triantafyllou, Charalabos Tzathas, Pericles Tassios, Theodore Rokkas and Sotirios A. Raptis, European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, vol. 14, no. 7, July 2002, pp. 801–3. The authors are at Athens University, Greece.

Coke Up the Nose 2
“The First Report of Successful Nasogastric Coca-Cola Lavage Treatment for Bitter Persimmon Phytobezoars in Japan,” H. Kato et al., American Journal of Gastroenterology, vol. 98, no. 7, July 2003, pp. 1662–3

The Interconnectedness of All Things
“Coca-Cola, Cancers, and Coronaries: Personality and Stress as Mediating Factors,” R. Grossartii- Maticek and J. Eysenck, Psychological Reports, vol. 68, 1991, pp. 1083–7. (Thanks to James A. Thorson for bringing this to our attention.) The report’s summary reads in part:

The predictions from the theory that large-scale consumption of Coca-Cola would prevent cancer and promote coronary heart disease was tested and found to be supported by the results of a long-scale prospective study.... Theory suggesting a causal relation between drug consumption and mortality is supported by these results, but it should not be assumed that the theorizing is not subject to possible criticism.

Coke for a Bolus
“The Use of Coca-Cola in the Management of Bolus Obstruction in Benign Oesophegeal Stricture,” N. D. Karanjia and M. Rees, Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, vol. 75, 1993, pp. 94–5. (Thanks to Doug Lindsey for bringing and this to our attention.) The authors find that:

The administration of Coca-Cola (or other aerated drinks) may clear a bolus in the acutely obstructed oesophagus.

Coca-Cola in Dentistry 1
“Coca Cola effects over porcelain surface in vitro,” J.M. Amenabar, A.C. Corso, E.G. Rivaldo et al., Journal of Dental Research, vol. 81, Special Issue B, December 2002, p. B132.

Coca-Cola in Dentistry 2
“Adhesive fractures in enamel exposed or not to Coca-cola (R),” F.L. De Souza, D.M.P. Padilha DMP and M.A.L. De Souza, Journal of Dental Research,  vol. 81, Special Issue B, December 2002, p. B200.

Coca-Cola in Dentistry 3
“Coca Cola: the tremendous enemy of dental alloys,” W.D. Muller, C. Schopf and K.P. Lunge, Journal of Dental Research, vol. 81, Special Issue B, December 2002, p. B256

Pepsi and Coke and Africanized Honey Bees
“The Attraction of Africanized Honey Bees (Apis mellifera L.) to Soft Drinks and Perfumes,”  Charles I. Abramson, Italo S. Aquino and Gerson A. Azeredo, Journal of General Psychology, vol. 124, no. 2, April 1997, pp. 166–81.

Tested the feasibility of using the proboscis  extension reflex to study preferences in Africanized honey bees.... Bees were divided into individual groups and confined to small metal tubes. Groups were fed one of a variety of soft drinks, or sucrose or spring water. The dependent variable was the amount of time the bee’s proboscis was in contact with a strip of filter paper saturated with the substance. The results indicate little or no contact with diet soft drinks or spring water, 45-65 sec of contact with Coca-Cola, Sprite, Pepsi, Guaraná, and Sukita Orange, and 75-140 sec of contact with Fanta Orange, Fanta Grape, and sucrose (sucrose elicited the most contact of the substances tested). In [another] experiment, the ability of bees to associate an odor with a soft drink was assessed in a discrimination task.... Little conditioning was observed with Pepsi, and no conditioning was observed with Diet Pepsi.


The article above is from the January-February 2007 issue of the Annals of Improbable Research. You can download or purchase back issues of the magazine, or subscribe to receive future issues. Or get a subscription for someone as a gift!

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