Scientific study confirms Rudolph’s red nose

LONDON — Dutch and Norwegian scientists say they have solved a glowing mystery: why Rudolph the reindeer’s nose is red.

By traveling to the Arctic and using video-microscope and thermal imaging technology, the scientists showed that the glow is from tiny blood vessels that are more abundant in the noses of reindeer than in humans’. Yes, seriously. The findings are being reported next week in BMJ, formerly known as The British Medical Journal, a publication with a quirky holiday tradition.

For the past 30 years, BMJ has devoted its Christmas-week issue to a lighter and sometimes brighter side of medicine, publishing unusual articles that vary from simply amusing to bizarre to creative or potentially important. All are based on methodologically sound science.


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