This year, over a hundred million people will shout and flail at flashing screens, completely engrossed by the “Super Bowl,” a live Lady Gaga concert bookended by scenes of strong, spandex-clad men amassing in huge, sweaty piles, hoping to “score points” to “win.” Those hundred million people will inevitably consume far more food than they usually do. Some will go to the hospital, as common sense and an underwhelming new study have found.
That study analyzed patients receiving esophagogastroduodenoscopy procedures, an unnecessarily long name for the procedure where they shove a camera down your throat. The study very obviously found those receiving the procedures were more likely to have food stuck in their esophagus during cultural and sporting events, like Thanksgiving and the Super Bowl, than during non-cultural and sporting events, like pretty much every other day of the year.
This, my friends, is science at its finest. It’s also “the first report of its kind comparing rates of food impaction in relation to cultural holidays and national athletic events,” write the authors, a team of American scientists.
The study looked at patients who showed up for the camera-down-the-throat procedure from St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Boston from the years of 2001 to 2012, and checked which of those patients had a “foreign body in esophagus” diagnosis. Of the 64 people who showed up during non-national holidays and sporting events during the period, three had something stuck in their food tube, but of the 37 who showed up around the holidays or Super Bowl, four did.
That means it’s ten times more likely to have something stuck in your esophagus during the holiday periods, according to the math. I’d still take the whole thing with a grain of salt, since three and four really are a very small number of cases. Also, the results don’t differentiate between Thanksgiving, Christmas and the Super Bowl, and the food most commonly lodged was turkey, according to the study published several weeks ago in the journal Gastroenterology Report. But you will still probably eat your ass off on Sunday, especially if, like me, you are paying more attention to the dead chicken meat than the living human meat.
Still yearning to know what it feels like to have something lodged in your esophagus, I went ahead and called sword swallower Dan Meyer to describe it. Now, he’s putting a long piece of metal into his esophagus, rather than a clump of turkey. But anyway, he said: “It feels extremely uncomfortable. It’s the most unnatural feeling in the world. Your body wants to get rid of the sword,” or I guess turkey, in our case.
Anyway, stay safe out there, and try not to choke on your cheese puffs.