That’s right people – we’ve got peer reviewed research on Santa Claus here (with abstracts!)

Check out this picture, and the blurb below:


A 79-year-old man with mitral valve prolapse of both leaflets and consecutive severe symptomatic mitral regurgitation underwent central double-orifice repair, the so-called “Alfieri stitch” operation. With this technique, a double-orifice mitral valve is artificially created by approximating the free edges of the leaflets at the site of the regurgitation with a suture. This is a technically simple, rapidly feasible operation that can be performed even in the presence of complex anatomical lesions. The further postoperative course of the patient was uneventful. The echocardiographic examination 3 months later showed only a mild residual mitral regurgitation and an image, unique to this operation, mimicking the face of Santa Claus in the parasternal short axis view (from “Images in cardiovascular medicine. Santa Claus in the echo lab.” Circulation. 2003 Dec 23;108(25):3164)

Really? I don’t see it. Do you?

(more Santa Claus studies below the fold, all attributed to a PUBMED search using “Santa Claus”)

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Visiting Santa: another look. Trinkaus J. Psychol Rep. 2005 Jun;96(3 Pt 2):1022-4. Link

An informal enquiry of the facial expressions of children as they queued up to meet Santa Claus during the 2003 Yuletide season showed that about 82% of the 300 children appeared to be indifferent to seeing Santa. As this finding seemed perhaps different from what conventional wisdom would suggest, that most children would be exhilarated or happy to visit with Santa, this study was replicated in 2004.

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Encounter with reality: children’s reactions on discovering the Santa Claus myth. Anderson CJ, Prentice NM. Child Psychiatry Hum Dev. 1994 Winter;25(2):67-84. Link

Fifty-two children who no longer believed in Santa Claus were individually administered a structured interview on their reactions to discovering the truth. Their parents completed a questionnaire assessing their initial encouragement of the child to believe in Santa and rating their child’s reactions to discovering the truth as well as their own reactions to the child’s discovery. Parental encouragement for the child to believe was very strong. Children generally discovered the truth on their own at age seven. Children reported predominantly positive reactions on learning the truth. Parents, however, described themselves as predominantly sad in reaction to their child’s discovery.

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Document management and scanning in the physician’s office. (Paperless Office vs Santa Claus) Snyder DB. J La State Med Soc. 1996 Dec;148(12):533-4. Link

A popular PC magazine recently conducted a survey asking readers whether a paperless office or Santa Claus was more believable. Santa Claus won. Health care professionals would make that same choice. They come from an educational process that teaches, if it is not on paper, it never happened. However, the necessity for fast and easy access to medical documents, particularly in managed care networks, is causing the paperless office to rush forward at breakneck speed.

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Epidemiology of reindeer parasites. Halvorsen O. Parasitol Today. 1986 Dec;2(12):334-9. Link

Every Christmas we sing about Rudolph the red-nosed Reindeer, but do we give much thought to why his nose is red? The general consensus is that Rudolf has caught a cold, but as far as I know no proper diagnosis has been made of his abnormal condition. I think that, rather than having a cold, Rudolf is suffering from a parasitic infection of his respiratory system. To some this may seem a bit far-fetched as one would not expect an animal living with Santa Claus at the North Pole to be plagued by parasites, but I shall show otherwise.

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David (@ng_dave) is Faculty at the Michael Smith Labs. His writing has appeared in places such as McSweeney's, The Walrus, and He plans on using Terry as another place to highlight the mostly science-y links he appreciates. In fact, if you liked this one, you might also like his main site generally - this can be found at

2 Responses to “That’s right people – we’ve got peer reviewed research on Santa Claus here (with abstracts!)”

  1. Dave Semeniuk

    It took me a while to see it, but I think here’s the Santa Face.

    Mind you, if you turn the image clockwise by 90 degrees, instead you see a creature with a pompadour eating a fish whole. I guess you see what you want to see…

  2. Jess

    I actually see a dogs face on the ultrasound, not santa.

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