A human swallowing

September 3, 2014 • 1:06 pm

Imagine how weird everything would look if we had X-ray vision like Superman. For instance, he’d see this if he watched someone swallow a liquid:

And imagine the other possibilities! For instance, I’d like to see someone eating.

From SciencePorn’s post on Vine: “X-Rays show a human swallowing liquid. #Science#Mindblowing From YouTuber: spladgum”


41 thoughts on “A human swallowing

        1. *I* wasn’t thinking about the barfing (dons halo). *I* was thinking what they use for a contrast medium. Probably just a runny barium meal – barium sulphate has a long enough history of innocuous use to not bother using anything else. But it’s got very good contrast, and there are limits to how much barium sulphate you can get into a fluid before it turns to toothpaste (IIRC the equivalent of about 18.5 pounds per gallon mud, which is about 2.2875 tonnes.m^-3 and is pushing a 50% v/v slurry. Hence “barium meal”.
          They may be using the new micronised barytes – otherwise known as “ultra-finely ground” – which has lower viscosity and yield point for set densities. But that normally requires fairly strong dispersants to keep it in suspension and I wouldn’t go around drinking that stuff without watching the guy who was trying to persuade me take a good deep drink too.
          Sorry, I was just thinking of another bit of video I saw once, in the spirit of enquiry. Which would have also been damned hard to do in X-rays. Oh no, that was done in MRI. Sidestep the contrast medium issue.
          Anyone want a halo? “Soiled,” as the opening scenes of the Blues Brothers would phrase it.

            1. The old joke is, if Charles had named his first kid “Up”, they would have been: Up, Chuck and Di.

              Perhaps “Upchuck and die” was an Americanism that didn’t catch on, thankfully, anywhere else.

  1. X-ray vision. Reminds me of that joke about all the women at the Daily Planet contracting breast cancer. Clark Kent is one nasty Übermensch.

    1. You should find a short “story” by Larry Niven entitled “Man of Steel ; Woman of Kleenex.”
      If Superman ever did get it on with Lois Griffin, the consequences would be … messy.

    1. But if WE had blowholes, Diana, all the blowhards in the world would also have them and loooook outttt!

      Typo ergo sum Merilee


      1. AFAIC whales can’t breathe through through their mouths but their trachea and esophagus are not connected so less breathing in food and choking on crackers. I wonder if whales would enjoy crackers. 🙂

        1. I wonder if whales would enjoy crackers.

          Sufficiently diluted with krill, squid, or whatever your Leviathan-du-jour normally eats … why not. The key word, of course, being “sufficiently”.
          (I missed a lot of responses the last few days – something is blocked on the office computer that isn’t blocked on this other office’s computer. Not wasting time figuring it out.)

  2. For some reason I was picturing great clouds of people swooping around the sky in “a swallowing of humans”.

  3. As a Registered Radiologic Technologist I used to see this kind of stuff all the time when I was still in the hospital setting. Never really got old though. It was often done with barium and still films (not live fluoroscopy like this) trying to catch the liquid at just the right spot. Also neat is that liquids will slide straight through the stomach by-passing food that is in there.

    1. liquids will slide straight through the stomach by-passing food that is in there.

      Or should that be “Heavy?”

  4. I guess the liquid is a barium sulfate slush .. yuck. It could be other things though such as metallic mercury, but that’s just too expensive. One thing’s for sure – water doesn’t block x-rays that effectively.

      1. It did go down smooth. But all too often it does not. Choking is one of the highest causes of accidental death. In this regard human beings are unique. Our swallowing mechanism is one of the most awkward in the mammalian world.

        Why? Because we are innately “socialist” 🙂 Your Maker favored a lowered larynx, an open throat cavity, along with swollen temporal lobes that enable top drawer speech, vocalization and communication. All in all a regrettably messy design, by your Maker truly.

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