'A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away': Star Wars music improves colonoscopy effectiveness

The Imperial March, Darth Vader's ominous theme music, and colonoscopies may inspire similar feelings of unease and dread in patients, but a new study conducted by researchers in Australia suggests music from the science fiction classic may actually improve procedure outcomes.

The study, published in The Medical Journal of Australia, analyzed 103 colonoscopy cases. Star Wars music was used in 58 of the cases, while popular music selected by the endoscopists was used in 45 cases. The primary outcomes measures for the study were procedure time, polyp detection rate and adenoma detection rate.  

Bowel preparation was found to be good or excellent in 57 percent of the Star Wars music group patients and in 69 percent of the popular music group. Despite a higher rate of adequate bowl prep in the popular music group, polyp detection rate and ADR were higher in the group undergoing the procedure to the tune of John Williams' soundtrack. The Star Wars music group had a polyp detection rate of 60 percent, while the other group had a polyp detection rate of 35 percent. ADR for the Star Wars group was 48 percent, and 27 percent in the other group.

"As Star Wars fans, we must suspect that the Force was also involved, enhancing our Force-sensitive abilities to detect polyps, despite an overall more hostile luminal environment. Akin to Luke Skywalker's destruction of the Death Star in Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, despite being pursued by Darth Vader and TIE fighters, we trusted the Force to guide us through the murky colonic waters to locate and destroy polyps," said the authors.

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