An athlete competes at the World Athletics Championships in Qatar. A “smart pill” could give insights into how his body handles temperature. (AP)

An athlete competes at the World Athletics Championships in Qatar. A “smart pill” could give insights into how his body handles temperature. (AP)

Dr. Paolo Adami explains the use of a heat-measuring sensor pill at the World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar. (AP)

Dr. Paolo Adami explains the use of a heat-measuring sensor pill at the World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar. (AP)

They packed a lot into a tiny pill!

They packed a lot into a tiny pill!

Runners are nearly even at Doha, Qatar. Could information from the “smart pill” lead to a development that would give one of them the edge? (AP)

Runners are nearly even at Doha, Qatar. Could information from the “smart pill” lead to a development that would give one of them the edge? (AP)

Stomaching Science

Posted: January 1, 2020

Gulp. The transmitter slides down the athlete’s throat. It’s two hours before race time. The red-and-white capsule squeezes past the esophagus. It tumbles into the stomach. Then it is nudged into the small intestine. The “pill” holds a transmitter and a battery. Those tools will help researchers study heat and body temperature. About 200 world-class athletes will join the science experiment.

After swallowing the capsule, athletes have one thing to do—run. The pill-sized computers record the temperature deep inside their bodies. Exercise heats up the body. Sweat cools it back down. Across the finish line, a receiver is hung around the runner’s neck. It downloads data from the computer capsule. (Wondering how the pill leaves the body? Well—ahem—after the athlete has run her course, nature simply runs its course.)

There couldn’t have been a better time or place for the experiment. Doha, Qatar, is a sweltering place. It was the site of the elite 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships. Doha’s climate is similar to the climate in Tokyo, where the 2020 Olympics will take place.

Athletes and their trainers know the importance of core temperature. They want to understand: What happens to a body while running in extreme heat? How hot is too hot for a race? How does a body stay at a safe temperature? The study will help runners train for Tokyo.

Paolo Emilio Adami works for the track federation. He says, “Our body is the most perfect machine that exists.”

He’s right! God designed the human body with incredible care.

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. — Psalm 139:13