Navigation Links
Scientists Marvel at Santa's Stamina

As another Christmas Day approaches, they speculate how he jolly well does it

MONDAY, Dec. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Circling the globe in an airborne sleigh, slipping down millions of chimneys, bulging sacks in tow -- how does Santa Claus do it every year?

Scientists everywhere south of the North Pole have pondered that question for years. And nowhere is it more hotly debated than at the Santa Institute, a special think-tank based at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, in Jackson.

The institute is perhaps most famous for unveiling its "Naughty or Nice" detector back in 2005 -- a silver headset inspired by St. Nick's uncanny ability to separate good kids (and grown-ups) from the not-so-good when doling out presents.

Doctors at the Santa Institute discovered the mechanism after performing Santa Claus Emission Tomography (SCET) on the jolly old man's brain (he cheerfully volunteered when visiting the center).

They discovered that Santa has a special part of his brain that lights up when a child is nice but another area that activates when naughtiness comes near. Based on the Santa discovery, the institute's scientists developed a silver, wireless headset to help ordinary humans figure out who deserves what under the tree.

So, how is the machine -- now upgraded to Naughty or Nice 3.0 -- doing two Christmases later?

So far, it "seems to be working OK," said developer Dr. David J. Dzielak, UMC associate vice chancellor for strategic research alliances and head Santa scientist.

But, he said, the device still has some bugs.

"One thing that is becoming clear is that the detector seems to function better when testing children than when testing adults. When adults get tested, it seems to get stuck in the 'naughty' mode," Dzielak said.

In fact, all of the young students who met with Santa earlier this month at UMC tested "nice," with only their teacher registering as "naughty."

"Obviously, much more research and technical innovation is going to be necessary" before any machine approximates Santa's level of discernment, Dzielak said.

Elsewhere at the institute, Dr. Rebecca Waterer, an assistant professor of medicine at UMC, is especially interested in Santa's snacking preferences.

"Our experiments involve studying before-and-after photographs of snacks left for Santa," she said. The result? Burning up calories during his busy night globetrotting, Santa eats almost everything kids leave out for him, except for fruitcake, Waterer said. Noticing the jolly gent's generous tummy, she advised that children skip the fruitcake (too fattening) and lean toward healthier fare so that Santa can shimmy down chimneys for years to come.

He'll certainly need all the nourishment he can get. According to experts at the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) -- which tracks Santa's Christmas Eve journey via radar, jet fighters and satellites each year -- Mr. Claus is set to deliver presents to all of the world's 6,634,570,959 people in just one night.

Beginning at 4 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on Christmas Eve, NORAD is again helping kids everywhere track Santa's global progress via their Web site,

Other experts outside NORAD and the Santa Institute have their own theories on how Santa gets the job done year in, year out.

In a statement, a panel of physician-experts at the Pennsylvania Medical Society theorized that, given his stamina and longevity, Santa probably goes for regular checkups, gets a flu shot during the hectic period before Christmas, and takes very good care of his skin -- important when one considers the cold and irritation his face must suffer in that open sleigh.

"I do get worried about his rosy cheeks," said Dr Victor Marks, a society member and president of the Pennsylvania Academy of Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery. "I wonder if that's windburn or sunburn from daylight reflecting off the snow. Mrs. Claus now applies sunscreen to his cheeks each morning," Marks said in a statement.

Another society expert, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Daniel Piaso, believes Santa works out regularly in the warmer, off-season months at the North Pole. How else to explain how the gray-haired guy skips over rooftops and pops in and out of his sleigh so quickly?

"Not a lot of my patients are sliding up and down chimneys, but Santa must be exceptionally nimble to do so," Piaso said.

But what keeps Santa going year after year? It could be as simple as the joy he gets in giving, the experts said.

"He loves what he does," the physicians said. According to the experts, study after study finds that "job/life satisfaction and a positive outlook can contribute significantly to an overall sense of well-being."

Ho, ho, ho to that.

More information

Have more questions about Santa? Ask the experts at the Santa Institute.

SOURCES: David J. Dzielak, associate vice chancellor, strategic research alliances, and Rebecca Waterer, M.D., assistant professor, medicine; both of the University of Mississippi Medival Center's Santa Institute, Jackson; Nov. 20, 2007, news release, Pennsylvania Medical Society

Copyright©2007 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. New prion protein discovered by Canadian scientists may offer insight into mad cow disease
2. Scientists Probe Sepsis Deadly Secrets
3. Scientists puzzled by severe allergic reaction to cancer drug in the middle Southern US
4. Scientists Develop Natural Protection for Stored Foods
5. Scientists detect presence of marburg virus in african fruit bats
6. Scientists Spot Brains Free Will Center
7. Scientists ID Likely Culprit in Popcorn Lung
8. Scientists explain how insulin secreting cells maintain their glucose sensitivity
9. Scripps Research scientists shed new light on how antibodies fight HIV
10. Scientists, physicians present latest findings in personalized cancer treatment and prevention
11. Scientists demonstate link between genetic variant and effectiveness of smoking cessation meds
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Scientists Marvel at Santa's Stamina
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Brent Kasmer, a legally blind and certified personal trainer is helping to develop ... The fitness app plans to fix the two major problems leading the fitness industry today:, ... all type program , They don’t eliminate all the reasons people quit their ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... 25, 2016 , ... The temporary closing of Bruton Memorial Library on June 21 due to ... a new, often overlooked aspect of head lice: the parasite’s ability to live away from ... common occurrence, but a necessary one in the event that lice have simply gotten out ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... non-athletes recover from injury. Recently, he has implemented orthobiologic procedures as a method ... —Johnson is one of the first doctors to perform the treatment. Orthobiologics are ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Those who have experienced ... feelings, many turn to unhealthy avenues, such as drug or alcohol abuse, as a ... has released tools for healthy coping following a traumatic event. , Trauma sufferers tend ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Global law firm Greenberg Traurig, P.A. announced that 20 Florida ... their peers for this recognition are considered among the top 2 percent of lawyers ... as members of this year’s Legal Elite Hall of Fame: Miami Shareholders Mark ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016   Bay ... Rehabilitation Network,s Dean Center for Tick Borne ... Medicine and Rehabilitation, MIT Hacking Medicine, University of ... Innovation, today announced the five finalists of ... Lyme disease.  More than 100 scientists, clinicians, researchers, ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Dehaier Medical Systems Ltd. (NASDAQ: ... and sells medical devices and wearable sleep respiratory products ... cooperation agreement with Hongyuan Supply Chain Management Co., Ltd. ... 20, 2016, to develop Dehaier,s new Internet medical technology ... will leverage Hongyuan Supply Chain,s sales platform to reach ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... LEXINGTON, Mass. , June 24, 2016   ... specialty pharmaceutical company developing innovative inhaled drugs, announced today ... when Russell Investments reconstituted its comprehensive set ... 2016. "This is an important milestone for ... "It will increase shareholder awareness of our progress in ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: