Monday, 30 July 2018

Maybe You Were Thinking About Eating

Maybe You Were Thinking About Eating
Maybe You Were brooding about Eating Raw Centipedes. Don’t.

An Asian red-headed centipede. it's going to look delicious, but scientists report that it's going to carry lungworm which will infect the brain.

Credit...Yasunori Koide Scientists in China now have hard evidence that eating raw centipedes may be a really bad idea.

That might go without saying in most parts of the planet.

But centipedes are a longtime remedy in traditional medicine in China.

As an ancient nostrum for epilepsy, stroke, cancer, tetanus, or atrophic arthritis, the two-inch-long arthropods are alleged to be eaten dried, powdered, or after being steeped in alcohol — not raw.

But a study published on Monday within the American Journal of Medicine and Hygiene describes two hospital patients — a mother and son — who ended up with rat lungworms in their brains after eating wild-caught centipedes the son had purchased at a farmer’s market.

Rat lungworms — named because they were first found in 1934 within the pulmonary arteries of a brown rat in Guangzhou, China — are often life-threatening.

But usually, they infect only people that eat raw snails or slugs.

Those include fans of northern Thai cuisine, children (or sometimes adults) who eat slugs on a dare, and unlucky salad-eaters who accidentally ingest slugs with unwashed lettuce.

In rare cases, lungworms are often picked up from undercooked shrimp or crabs that ate the larvae.

The new study is that the first proving they will be found in centipedes, too.

The patients, a 78-year-old woman, and her 46-year-old son, were admitted to Zhujiang Hospital in Guangzhou in 2012 with headaches and stiff necks, signs of meningitis.

“It took us a while to work out what they were affected by ,” said Dr. Lingli Lu, a neurologist at the hospital and co-author of the study.

After eliminating bacterial and viral causes, she said, the treatment team focused on common parasites like cysticercosis, caused by pork tapeworms, or toxoplasmosis, which comes from cat feces.

Ultimately, she said, a meningitis specialist suggested a test for lungworms.

The previously healthy man had listened to someone who told him raw centipedes would prevent winter colds, Dr. Lu said, and his mother “was old and takes anything the son gives her.”

Both patients recovered after treatment with an anti-parasitic drug and corticosteroids.

To confirm their suspicions, the researchers bought 20 live centipedes at the market that the son had patronized and located seven of them teeming with lungworm larvae.

Asked why anyone would sell live centipedes — which have a venomous bite — Dr. Lu explained that some traditionalists boil them in teas or pickle them in wine to use as home remedies.

“In my opinion, it might be rude to inform the customer, ‘Don’t eat them raw,’” she said. “It would say the customer is stupid.”

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