I recently received this invitation to take part in some research. The bone fides are sound, though goodness knows what the research question really is – or what significance will be ascribed to the potential findings.
I’ve edited out identifying detail to protect boffin sensibilities.
"Volunteers needed for characterisation of chewed/sucked and expectorated raw almonds
You are invited to participate in a research project. The purpose of the study is to measure the size and shape of almond particles that have been chewed sufficiently to be swallowed. [Why, pray?] The secondary purpose of the study is to measure the loss of fat from the cut surfaces of almond pieces after a short period in the mouth. [A hint at an hypothesis there, but I’ve no idea what it could be….]
We are looking for volunteers aged 18 and over who have healthy teeth and gums and who are not allergic to almonds or associated allergens.
If you are interested in participating, you will be contacted and asked some questions over the phone or in person to check your suitability for the study. If eligible, a test session will then be booked. Eligible participants may then be requested to attend a maximum of five additional sessions as required.
During each session you will be given ten portions of almond (whole or cooked). The first two portions you will chew and swallow, whilst the number of chews and time taken to swallow are measured. For the second set of eight portions you will be asked to chew in the same way, but then spit when you feel the urge to swallow, these samples will be collected. After each test you will be given water with which to rinse your mouth. All sessions will follow the same format. Each session will take approximately 1.5-2 hours. At the end of one session you will be asked to hold some almond cubes in your mouth for a short time before spitting them out. You may also be asked to chew and spit a small handful in one go.
If you are interested in participating......"….. da de da de da…. I’ve deleted the rest of the contact information
Why ‘almond’? .... But why ask aobut the nut? If it was Brazil nuts I wouldn't be any the wiser. Questioning the nut (Health and safety says: take care when questioning the nut....) is, maybe, too detailed a query.
Why any of it? I'm not against it. Just intrigued, more interested in speculating idly, than actually contacting the academics to find out more. As with much of life, wondering 'why?' and 'what for?' is more fun than actually uncovering the answer, one which may be disappointingly prosaic.