A Person Who Swallowed a Snake Whole (But Died)

This new study, describing a now-long-dead person who ate a snake whole, is reminiscent of the Ig Nobel Prize-winning study about swallowing a shrew. The new study is: “Analysis of a coprolite from Conejo Shelter, Texas: Potential ritualistic viperous snake consumption,” Elanor M. Sonderman, Crystal A. Dozier, Morgan F. Smith, Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, […]

“A Jackass and a Fish”—Doctors save the life of a Fish-Called-Wanda imitator

This young man who swallowed a fish As part of a party tradish- ion he followed with friends: Unhappy? Depends. The young man has gotten his wish. That limerick is a hasty summary of the medical case described in this newly published study: “A Jackass and a Fish: A Case of Life-Threatening Intentional Ingestion of […]

What can happen, medically, to people who swallow lots of chewing gum

Some people chew lots of chewing gum, and then swallow what they have chewed. Swallowing gum can lead to problems, as this medical study explains: “Chewing gum bezoars of the gastrointestinal tract,” David E. Milov, Joel M. Andres, Nora A. Erhart, and David J. Bailey, Pediatrics, vol. 102, no. 2 (1998): e22-e22. The authors write: “In summary, […]

Podcast 83: Journeys of Toothbrushes

Toothbrushes journey — somehow, and other — to the depths in humanity, in this week’s Improbable Research podcast. SUBSCRIBE on Play.it, iTunes, or Spotify to get a new episode every week, free. This week, Marc Abrahams discusses medical reports about toothbrushes that mysteriously found their way into people’s stomachs and other deeply secret places. Harvard chemist Daniel Rosenberg gives dramatic readings and opinions: Toothbrush journey #1: “The Swallowing of […]

When something inside you is crushed like a nut

The pressure in the esophagus (the tube connecting the mouth and stomach) can become abnormally very high. Because of this high pressure an analogy was drawn between the esophageal pressure and the pressure generated by a nutcracker giving the term – nutcracker esophagus: R Fass, R Dickman. Nutcracker Esophagus-A Nut Hard to Swallow. Journal of […]

Write Ho! The Long-Lost, Ingested Pen Turns Up

Medicine and literary production combine in a fairly unusual way in this study: “An incidental finding of a gastric foreign body 25 years after ingestion,” Oliver Richard Waters, Tawfique   Daneshmend, Tarek Shirazi, BMJ Case Reports, 2011. The authors, at Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital Foundation Trust, Exeter, UK, report: A 76-year-old female, with a blameless […]