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Here’s How a Photo of Your Poop Might Help Researchers

Most of us take photos daily; of our food, our faces, and our surroundings, but our poop? Well, here’s where most people would draw the line. However, researchers at health company Seed Health, in combination with Auggi, a gut-health startup, are urging people to photograph their feces in the hopes of creating a poop image database of over 100,000 pictures from around the world.

According to Health, the companies are developing an app for their “give a shit for science” campaign. Your poop is very telling about the inner workings of your body, specifically your gut, and using artificial intelligence to determine and diagnose gut conditions is why researchers are eager to receive photos of poop. In addition to the image, they also require a bit of information about the individual’s cycle, for example, when do they go to the toilet. The image can be sorted into one of seven stool categories, determined by the consistency of the sample, with Type 1 being constipated, and Type 7 is diarrhea. The shape and firmness of the stool, identified along the Bristol stool scale, will allow researchers to determine if the body is lacking fiber and water, but can also help pick up on more severe problems like irritable bowel syndrome, New York Post reports.

“We don’t always think about stool as like a daily data—I’m putting air quotes around “dump”—but really, as a direct output of our gut health,” Ara Katz, co-founder and co-CEO of Seed Health, told The Verge.

David Hachuel, a co-founder of Auggi, is building the platform, and he told the publication that because there is no existing database for poop, the app has been using Play-Doh replicas of the stool samples represented on the Bristol stool scale. “We spent countless hours just making different Play-Doh models,” he told the publication. “We actually 3D-printed a toilet just to emulate how that would happen in real life.”

Both Katz and Hachuel are excited about how many people are already sending in photos. So, if you’re interested in doing your part for science, you can submit your photo at Seed's website. The personal information that is provided will be separated from the image, giving the user anonymity.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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