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Thousands of kroner for doing ´nothing´

600 kroner (after tax) for your shit. These days, students are willing to do just about anything, or in this case...'nothing'... for some extra money, including being a guinea pig for medical experiments, and collecting your waste. Me (Nathia) and Joachim were no different

The university bulletin boards lure men and women in, advertising large salary rewards to those who want to participate in scientific experiments as test persons.

In today’s uncertain economic climate, students are considering previously unexplored job opportunities.

I wanted to try it out, and I met Joachim, who earned nearly DKK 50,000 over his career as a test person.

The brown gold

The rent, telephones, insurance, travelling, and frequent visits to student bars and cafes. They had all left me searching nearly everywhere for some fast cash.

I resorted to university bulletin boards and donated my body to science in the name of money.

For me, it turned out to be a quick stint that made me DKK 1,000 richer after just five days of work. It was simple: I recorded everything I had eaten, collected my waste, and handed it in to the researcher. Even if you take the debate and the laugh it caused among my friends when I discussed the methods of collection, the DKK 600 (after tax) certainly pays off the work burden.

Get your leg put in a cast for science

Before I allowed my own hankering for money to drive me to these desperate measures, I remembered seeing a post on a bulletin board a few years back: Put your leg in a cast and earn DKK 10,000.

Perhaps it was not quite how it was, but in brief it was how the trial went. One leg in a cast for 3-10 weeks, rehabilitation for 6-10 weeks, and a whopping DKK 8,000-10,000 pay cheque. A few weeks after the advertisements appeared back then, two male students came into my lecture room with their legs in casts.

I recently talked to my friend Joachim about this medical experiment, which he proudly said he had been a part of. Here I learned how much money you can actually earn as a full-time working test person. So, if you are one of those people who could use a little extra pocket money after a stressful Christmas, perhaps for a vacation, read on.

Earn money by going in the sauna

Joachim’s thigh has donated more biopsies than my thighs have beauty spots. Most of the experiments have been diet and exercise related.

One of the experiments, which Joachim describes as his worst, was to have 12 muscle biopsies done, six on each thigh. Unfortunately, there was not enough muscle within the biopsies and the initial 12 biopsies turned in to 18. As a result, a taxi had to take him home because he could not walk.

Among the funniest experiments is one where brain and blood activity in response to coldness were studied. First, he was lowered into a tub of cold water and then placed in a sauna for 20 minutes. The ‘humorous’ moment occurred when he was in the tub. He was placed in a strange, chair like contraption and a miniature crane transported him safely into the tub.

Being trapped is something Joachim is used to. He has also participated in an experiment where he stayed for several hours in an airtight chamber. The carbon dioxide levels were changed to see the impact it had on his appetite.

Difference between men and women

During an experiment, Joachim had to stay in the hospital for one week. He received a leg implant to study muscle growth within a foreign body.

The following week, he was not allowed to do physical activity besides walking a thousand steps on a treadmill.

The number of potential testing candidates is limited by skewed sex ratios that can be explained by natural causes: Men’s hormonal balance is far more stable than menstruating women. So if you are a guy, you have a greater chance of participating and earning money as a test person than if you are a gal.

Keep an eye on the bulletin boards

The work as a test person has not only made Joachim DKK 50,000 richer over the seven years he has participated, but it has also given him greater knowledge of his body. Joachim fears no harm as the experiments he has participated in have no major risks, though he mentions there is always the risk of infection with blood samples. He also believes that it is both an exciting and experimental way to supplement a study grant or student job without having the feeling of doing ‘real’ work.

Still interested? Money hungry?

Keep an eye on the university bulletin boards or check out the website here (in Danish).

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