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Halloween is around the corner and everyone is getting ready to get a little scared, but mostly have fun! The fun part of Halloween is sure to be delivered by all the great parties and gatherings that will happen during that day but as a medical student we made sure with this article to give you a bit of a scare. what better way than presenting you some of the most gruesome and spooky medical cases of all time! So grab your popcorn and while you get ready putting on your costume and you have ready the Halloween spirit for the night, here are some of the most spooky medical cases/experiments in history!

 

1.Eating worms from a corpse for science!

Giovanni Battista Grassi was one of the greatest anatomist and highly educated doctor of all time. Born in Italy in 1854, he was a pioneer in the fields of parasitology and zoology. His extensive research and life work gave great insights and knowledge in the field of parasitology. He was the one that discovered the life cycle of the tapeworm (Taenia nana) and the life cycle of the roundworm (Ascaris lumbricoides). He also was also a pioneer on pest control for the viral parasite phylloxera.

What a lot of people do not know is that, in order to understand and prove his theory about   the roundworm Ascaris lumbricoides, he actually ingested the roundworm eggs on the 30th of August 1879,which he had collected from a human corpse after performing an autopsy. After the course of 22 days he found out that he was also infected by examining his stool sample and finding out that the sample contained fresh roundworm eggs! In that way he proved his theory that the roundworm is transmitted by ingestion from a contaminated host or object.

 

2.A doctor that didn’t drink his orange juice!

We all know that we need to drink orange juice and eat fruits regularly especially during exam period to get all these vitamins. But how exactly did we acquire this information? Its not like something will happen if we skip eating fruits for weeks, students basically run on pasta and instant noodles most of the times right? Well that was not the case for the doctor John Crandon that tested exactly what happens to the body after a diet of only cheese, crackers, bread, eggs, beer and sugar in October 1939. He experienced after several weeks small hemorrhages in his leg, extreme fatigue, and he almost died if it weren’t for his colleagues presence to inject him with 1000mg of vitD!

 

3.Does anyone want anesthesia?

We all know that in order to undergo a surgical procedure one must undergo general anesthesia in cases of big operations. But what you may not know is how it was found out that anesthesia actually works. The story is pretty scary and resembles a horror scene but what actually happened back in the great century of medical history accomplishments was actually an evolution for the time. In 1898 the German surgeon August Bier came up with the idea of using cocaine as a general spinal anesthetic. He voluntarily offered to be the first person to try his new method. so he made his assistant Augustus Hildebrandt inject cocaine directly into his cerebrospinal fluid. That method did not go well and according to the procedure that should have been followed,as a Bier attained a hole on his neck from where CSF was leaking everywhere. At that point someone would think to go to the hospital or just put a bandage and abandon the plan for the day? Not the case for these two gentleman who decided to switch places and actually anesthetize the assistant. The anesthesia was carried out correctly and in order for Bier to prove that it was indeed successful he started stabbing, burning and in general conducting actions that were supposed to inflict pain to his assistant! The assistant did not feel anything though since the anesthesia was indeed a success.

 

4.A soldier operated on himself

In 1782 a French soldier called Claude Martin suffered from bladder problems what seemed to be the case of bladder stones. While he was in excruciating pain he attempted to perform a kind of lithotripsy(a procedure that involves the bladder stones to be destroyed by a wax wired catheter insertion in the urethra)He performed this extremely painful operation 12 times a day for couple of months because he simply thought that going to the doctor would be even more painful!(Well to be honest it was 1782 and he was right in a sense although maybe he could have found a more holistic solution? Maybe homeopathy?). He was actually the first person to perform this type of procedure and for the procedure to be successful!

 

5.The arm souvenir

In 1737 an accident that took place in a windmill site led to the complete laceration of his arm by the cogs of the windmill wheel. The most horrifying part is that although his arm was separated with the shoulder blade he did not realize that and had no pain so he did not realize that his arm was actually torn off until he saw it hanging from the wheel! He even held his composure and went to meet his brother to ask for help. The surgeons of the time where impressed by his full recovery after the incident and by the fact that the cut was clear that they even kept the arm, preserved it in alcohol and further examined it!

 

The scariest medical conditions of all time!

Now that is Halloween and you are thinking carefully what to be in this day and how to make your costume scarier than last year you might want to actually reconsider some of your choices, like a vampire, a werewolf, a zombie did you know that all these are conditions and are real and in reality  not that nice and romantic like the movies make them seem!

 

1.NOMA or cancrum oris

It is a disease that affects mainly people in Africa and Asia, and it affects the mouth area and the genital parts of the body. It can be transmitted via contaminated water or food and leaves patients with large necrosis and ulcers in the area of the mouth tissue.
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2.Spontaneous combustion

Spontaneous human combustion is the concept of a human body getting on fire without an external reason of ignition. In history there are a lot of recorded cases that are thought to have been caused by spontaneous human combustion. A lot of the times scientists have tried to explain this phenomenon by introducing several theories such as the wick effect, cigarettes, scalding, ketosis or even a rare syndrome called Mast Cell Activation Syndrome, where mast cells release inflammatory molecules and with the aid of fat under the right conditions can make a body burst into flames. As scary as it sounds the good news is that the scientific community has not decided yet if it’s a real phenomenon or not.

 

3.Vampire syndrome

The Vampire Syndrome or Porphyria as it is commonly known in the scientific world. This disease is caused by porphyrins accumulating in the body having a terrible effect on the skin, nervous system and in general with the normal functions of the human body. This leads to several symptoms including sensitivity in the sun, rashes, itchy skin, fatigue, pale skin complexion, red urine, painful skin redness and excessive hair growth. It has been linked with the origins of the myths about vampires because people that have the disease have a lot of similarities with the description of these mythical creatures. A lot of people had the disease such as King George III, Mary Queen of Scots, Mary I of Portugal, Vincent van Gogh and many others throughout history exhibited one of the different forms of porphyria.

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Maria I of Portugal in a c. 1790s portrait attributed to Giuseppe Troni or Thomas Hickey.

 

4.Cotards Delusion or Walking corpse syndrome

This is a mental health syndrome in which the sufferer believes that they are dead, or are petrified, or they have lost a significant amount of blood and their internal organs. Others also believe that they are immortal. Several cases have been recorded throughout the past centuries but the most intriguing ones are:

-A Mademoiselle X as she was called in 18th century claimed that she didn’t have any internal organs such as intestines and she doesn’t have to eat because she was immortal. She died from starvation not too long after making these claims.

-Another case was recorded back in 2008 when a patient claimed that she was dead and smelled like a corpse in decomposition. She even wanted to go to the morgue to be united with other dead people as she claimed. She was admitted in the hospital instead and after taking some medication her situation improved.

 

5.Stone man syndrome

Stone man syndrome or fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP) is an extremely rare syndrome which turns connective tissue into bone. Its non treatable and people that have this condition must be extremely careful with injuries. While in healthy individuals bone growth stops at some point in their life, individuals with FOP experience constant abnormal bone growth and a second skeleton that engulfs the connective tissue is formed. People with FOP have a small life expectancy and have limited movement.

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Also interesting: https://www.msvpulse.nl/top-5-easy-and-healthy-dishes-before-studying/