Copyright 1998 The Scotsman Publications Ltd.
                             Scotland on Sunday

September 27, 1998, Sunday				Pg. 3


LESSONS FROM SEAT OF LEARNING

By Neil Mackay


	NEVER have three doctors been so flushed with success.

Vital research on the dangers posed by traditional
porcelain toilet bowls has earned a team of Scottish
medics a nomination for this year's IG Nobel prize.

William Tullett, a consultant at Glasgow's Western
Infirmary, and two of his colleagues are being lauded for
their groundbreaking work The Collapse of Toilets in
Glasgow.

Their research laid the foundations for the study of
injuries sustained by overweight people after they sat on
toilets and broke them.

Tullett, along with Jonathan Wyatt and Gordon McNaughton,
came to the conclusion that in order to avoid painful
porcelain wounds to their behinds, large-boned men and
women should hover "continental-style" over toilets rather
than risk sitting down.

So significant has the research proved that it is in line
for the IG Nobel prize, awarded annually for studies that
benefit mankind, but not in the conventional sense. The
prestigious award will be handed over by genuine Nobel
laureates at a glitzy ceremony at Harvard University,
Massachusetts, next month.

Tullett, a consultant since 1988, is delighted that the
work, published in the Scottish Medical Journal, is being
hailed as his life's achievement.  "I've published 20
scientific papers and they all sank without trace. It
seems my work on toilets has finally got me the
recognition I deserve," he said.

"We discovered there were hidden risks in the toilet. It
is a ground -breaking invention, but it also has its
dangers, especially for the more hefty among us."

Tullett and his team hit on their findings after noticing
an upsurge in bloody behinds belonging to overweight
patients arriving at casualty. "Our first case was a
14-year-old girl who weighed 12 stone. She sustained cuts
to her thighs when the toilet she sat on collapsed,"
explained Tullett.

Other victims included a gentleman who sustained multiple
lacerations to his buttocks when his weight caused a
toilet to disintegrate. "The toilets in question were of
the old-fashioned porcelain variety. They could not
sustain the weight of large individuals. This was the
first time toilets were linked to medical injuries and it
is a breakthrough. We hope our research will ease the
discomfort and embarrassment of toilet-collapse victims."

The IG Nobel awards are the brainchild of Harvard's Marc
Abrahams, who called Tullett's work "a classic IG Nobel
nominee".

"The one criterion all entries are judged on is that they
must be achievements that cannot and should not be
reproduced."

The awards are given out in 10 categories ranging from
medicine and literature to economics and peace. Previous
winners include Bernard Vonnegut, the brother of author
Kurt, for his work Chicken Plucking as a Measure of
Tornado Wind Speed, involving firing dead chickens from a
cannon into approaching twisters.