A 12-year-old girl’s research on stuffed animals gets into a medical journal

A 12-year-old girl's research on stuffed animals gets into a medical journal

We know stuffed animals can be helpful to deal with stressful situations. A young girl’s research on stuffies gets the attention of a medical journal.

Gaby Zane’s science project expanded from a school project to the focus of a medical report, 9News reports. Gaby was looking for a way to help out children who have to go into the hospital and get an operation.

“Kids probably get stressed that they’re going to have to go through an operation,” Gaby said. “Stuffed animals really help with staying calm, but they can carry lots of bacteria into the operating room.”

So Gaby though about her favorite stuffed cat. If she had to go to the hospital, she would want to take the stuffie with her. Problem is hospitals are not that keen on the idea because they are afraid of germs.

Gaby’s project set out to find a way to address these concerns. Her mother is a pediatric orthopedic surgeon who also mentioned this issue to her. But she also said there are no concrete cases of a stuffed animal causing a contamination of a surgical site, so the ban on the toys was prevention.

“I thought ‘why not just wash them,'” Gaby said. “We did a study on how we could decrease the bacteria, and it worked. You just have to throw them in the washer and drier.” She adds that after a wash, stuffies showed 94% decrease in bacteria which is a huge improvement. “Put them in a sealed plastic bag before you get to the operating room to make sure they stay sterile, and you’ll be ok”, she adds.

This may sound familiar for you. It is because we have covered a similar study a while back.

Gaby’s mother shared the findings with a colleague at Vanderbilt University. “His lab was so thrilled and sent her a really nice note and jokingly said ‘they had been scooped by a fifth grader,'” Murphy-Zane said. Dr. Jonathan Schoenecker, M.D., Ph.D. oversaw a similar study in his Vanderbilt lab and pooled those results with Gaby’s findings.”The next thing we knew, the manuscript was written and had been accepted to the Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics,” Dr. Murphy-Zane said.

Interestingly enough, Gaby says she doesn’t want to become a doctor like her parents. She wants to be a writer or a journalist.