The Common Cold Unit: 1946-1989
October 17, 2014 12:42 PM   Subscribe

Free 10 Day Autumn or Winter Break: You may not win a Nobel Prize, but you could help find a cure for the common cold.
posted by misteraitch (4 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The University of Rochester used to post flyers around the local colleges looking for research volunteers to test various things. I don't recall if the common cold was one of them but I do remember one that involved spending time in a cold chamber. Given college students' willingness to do just about anything for money, I guess we were their prime market.
posted by tommasz at 1:30 PM on October 17, 2014

That sounds rather lovely. Darts, beer, boiled dinner, a fresh-faced companion, a radio but no cell phone or laptop, and the assurance that the entire civilized world will voluntarily stay the hell away from me for ten whole days. Where is the sigh up form?
posted by sleepy psychonaut at 2:56 PM on October 17, 2014

I DID THIS! And it was lovely. I'd been backpacking around Europe for 6 months, in those pre-Shengen days and met up with two other travelers who admitted me into the secret. Not really a secret obviously but it was easy to imagine the place being deluged with tired, hungry backpackers in those days when it was cheaper and easier to take off for a year at a time.

It was brilliant. First of all, they sent you a round trip train ticket so it was a great way to get back down from Scotland. There was an orientation meal, singles were assigned a flatmate, a pair of wellies, and then off to our little huts. We had a tiny kitchen and fridge stocked with basics for breakfast. Lunch, dinner, elevenses and tea were brought around by a staff member. The sound of the wheels on the covered wooden walkways meant the food cart was approaching. That was the big excitement. A doctor and a nurse also came every morning to check up on us. There was some kind of procedure I forget, washing out nasal passages or being swabbed. We had to save all our tissues.

We weren't confined to our hut. An ordinance survey map of the area was provided with all footpaths highlighted. If we met anyone on our walks, we had to hold up a handkerchief to our face and give them a wide berth but the locals were used to seeing that. After so many months traveling, I was happy to stay inside and watch television and read the newspaper and relax.

Neither my flatmate nor I caught a cold, I don't think anyone in our group did. After 10 days, we all met for another meal, I was given my train ticket for London and by late afternoon, I was booking the night train/ferry to France. I always intended to go back on future trips but I never did.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 5:57 PM on October 17, 2014 [8 favorites]

A friend of mine participated in a study like this but for the flu. He ended up being in the control group, which meant he got paid $1000 for a little holiday in an isolation ward of a local hospital, watching a lot of crappy TV. He loved it. I think he might have loved it a bit less if he hadn't ended up in the control group.
posted by lollusc at 3:05 AM on October 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

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