Friday 27 August 2010

Researchers Discover A Stool Pigeon, Quite Literally

You've got to hand it to anti-tobacco lunatics - their commitment to the cause of haranguing smokers, every day, and in every way, is quite remarkable.

Nothing is too difficult or objectionable ... not even rummaging through shit. And not just any old shit either, we're talking meconium here.

Meconium, the dark and tarry stools passed by a baby during the first few days after birth, can be used to determine how much the mother smoked, or if she was exposed to tobacco smoke during pregnancy.

Researchers writing in BioMed Central's open access journal Environmental Health measured tobacco smoke metabolites in meconium samples from 337 babies, finding that they correlated well with reported smoke exposure and other markers of tobacco smoke exposure.
Parents will know all about meconium. The intensely acrid, almost radioactive, ammonia-like greeny-brown stuff which nature injects into babies as its little sadistic test on new mums and dads. If you can withstand that without running the little 'un down to the nearest adoption agency, you possess the requisite mettle to survive the next 18 years of your life feeling like you're forever being run through a crushed-glass encrusted mangle.

For those who have never experienced meconium, it doesn't just emit an odour, it launches a psychotic frenzied assault on your senses. When you breathe in, it instantly flays the membrane from the inside of your nostrils, performs Riverdance on your optic nerve and detonates a landmine on your ear drums, before lobbing rotten prawns into your stomach and drumming on your diaphragm with a wooden club.

Yet the researchers took 337 examples of this stuff for analysis. Not just one nappy load from each kid either, oh no. All of it, according to their report [pdf].

Meconium stools were collected throughout the hospital stay, until the first milk stool appeared. Study staff pooled meconium samples from diapers into polyethylene containers using a spatula.
Then they put it all in a fridge to keep its violent properties as fresh as possible, before delving into it with gusto.

And for why? Well, as the authors state, smoke exposure in pregnancy is "under-reported". That is, people have learned that if they deny smoking or being around smokers, doctors leave them alone, and this just won't do for anti-smoking fanatics. Consequently, they need to come up with an irrefutable tell-tale sign of exactly what smoke-related activities have been going on, and by collecting and getting elbow-deep in noxious shit, they think they have found it.

Thanks to this newly-discovered - quite literal - stool pigeon, a rich new seam of potential hectoring is now exploitable.

In the future, if a new mum says they haven't been anywhere near smoke during pregnancy, her doctor may ask her to bring a bag of her kid's shit to prove it.


Witterings from Witney said...

And the mentality of those who took part in this 'voluntary' research?

Oddly, the word verification was emenonse - is this a new spelling of 'nonsense'? Like 'M' & 'N' who is also nonsense?

Anonymous said...

I would say this report is exactly as advertised-a pile of shit!

John Watson

Witterings from Witney said...

Anonymous: If you can make a pile out of such a liquid mess - you a better man than me!

westcoast2 said...

I think the sample size is too small

MarieC said...

I think there couldn't be a better place for them - after all they're used to talking it.

Anonymous said...

I dont think these saddos are really going through such research,
they are just going through the

If anyone knows where any of these
pervos partake of their Starbucks,
I would be only to overjoyed to zip along and
dump something in their Alta Rica,
really worthy of analysis.

Zealot Finder General

B7 said...

Sounds like a load of bulls Meconium to me, young ones of course.

The anti smoking lobby have no bounds to how low they will stoop, I wish they would spatula off.

He's Spartacus said...

What price a Private Member's Bill criminalising smoking while pregnant?

No doubt sponsored by MPs who are equally zealous in their support for a woman's right to choose when it comes to abortion.

Right up Harriet Harman's it were.

paulkearns said...

As the father of 3, who took his "turn" with the nappy changes, I can verify the fact that if Saddam had ever learned how to use what comes out of a baby in it's first day or two, then Tony Bliar's "45 minute" speech may have held some true terror.
I cannot conceive (no pun intended) that people would actually "shift" through such toxic waste, merely to see if the mother was ever exposed to a wood burning stove, a bonfire or a cigarette shows either how "doomed" our society is - or how desperate some people are to get a job (I think the latter).

Brings up an interesting legal point - "to whom does this stuff actually belong"? If it is the mother's, then it "belongs" to her (who knows, some may be stupid enough to want to keep it). If it belongs to a baby that has not yet been "registered", then it is theft from a person who does not yet "belong" to society and does not have the mental capability to "agree" to this being used for scientific study.
Now THAT is a legal case I would LOVE to watch.

Dick Puddlecote said...

Paul: So glad someone else has that horrific experience indelibly etched on their mind. ;)

And so jealous I didn't use 'going through the motions' as a title, Anon.

Fredrik Eich said...

My friend and your friend Don Shenker posted a comment on thepublican on a story entitled.

"Alcohol Concern: 'We're not saying alcohol shouldn't be available'"

In my mind "alcohol shouldn't be available" does not rule out "alcohol is very,very expensive, hard to use but avaialable".
So I tried to ask him if he thought there were any conditions under which price would not be used to as a control mechanism.
I am still waiting for a response.

I think that unless neo-prohibitionists clearly state as to how much alcohol can be available they can not claim that they are not saying "alcohol shouldn't be available".

If that makes sense!?!

Chuckles said...

Anon, Another hat tip for the 'going through the motions', pure genius.

May I suggest that it is not necessary to add anything to their Alta Rica at Starbucks, as this seems like the perfect time to serve some Kopi Luwak?

Unknown said...

I am blogging about this DP. Un fucking believable!

Jeff Wood said...

Not far off topic, but "going through the motions" as well coined by the Zealot Finder, came up in Gulliver's Travels.

Somewhere, I forget the place, Swift has the spies examining the stools of suspected seditioners to establish by colour, consistency and so on who was plotting to overthrow the regime.

Nearly there.