The scope of research that’s being done these days is astounding. Somewhere, someone’s working on a project that will lead to a Nobel Prize in medicine. Other research will gather less critical acclaim but still have a big impact on science. Some research is more basic but can result in important preliminary information. And some studies… well, they may have a serious side but they’re not what people typically think about when envisioning medical research.

Here are a few highlights from the lesser-heralded group of people investigating bathroom behaviours:

  • A study of toilet reading habits in Israeli adults (Goldstein et al. Neurogastroenterol Motil 2009) concluded that toilet reading is a common and benign habit. (I hadn’t really thought of it as a potentially poor lifestyle choice, but I guess this confirms it’s fine). While it involves more time spent in the bathroom, "It seems to be more for fun and not necessarily to solve or due to medical problems." (Perhaps a more relevant area of study would be hand hygiene practices by toilet readers and the impact of toilet reading on fecal contamination of reading materials.)
  • A Korean group has established that frequent recreational cycling does not have a negative impact on urination or sexual function in men (Kim et al. Korean Journal of Urology 2011). Cycling enthusiasts around the world, including me, rejoice.
  • Horseback riders can be similarly relieved (pardon the pun) that recreational riding isn’t associated with increased risk urinary or sexual dysfunction (Alanee et al. Urology 2009).
  • A study with the catchy title "Female bowel function: the real story" (Zutshi et al Dis Colon Rectum 2007) wasn’t too thrilling but had tidbits such as older women and women with children report more flatulence.

What do these have to do with zoonotic or infectious diseases? Nothing, but a little potty humour lightens up the start of the work day. More "real" posts to follow.

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