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Puffer fish

How can you get food poisoning? If you eat puffer fish, nothing bad happens to you. Right? Wrong! While it's considered a delicacy in Japan, Korea, and China, the puffer fish is poisonous, and if you eat puffer fish, you can get food poisoning and DIE because — after the golden poison frog — the puffer fish is the second most poisonous vertebrate in the whole world!

How can you get food poisoning? If the puffer fish is prepared by chefs who don't know which part of it is safe to eat and in what quantity. You can get food poisoning by eating certain internal organs of the puffer fish, such as the liver.

The toxin of the puffer fish is tetrodotoxin, abbreviated as TTX, also known as zombie powder. It's a potent neurotoxin that has no known antidote.

Shellfish poisoning

If you eat shellfish, nothing bad happens to you. Right? Wrong! If you eat shellfish, you can get food poisoning and DIE. Why? Because mussels, clams, oysters and scallops ingest poisonous dinoflagellates during red tides, and the dinoflagellates produce saxitoxin that causes paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP), even after the shellfish has been cooked.

You can DIE of PSP because, when your muscles are weak, you cannot breathe. One of the symptoms of PSP is muscle weakness.

Unexpected surgery

If you criticize your government, nothing bad happen will happen to you. Right? Wrong! If you go into surgery, nothing bad happen will happen to you. Right? Wrong! Example: On August 28, 2014, shortly after criticizing the Obamas Joan Rivers was murdered at Yorkville Endoscopy in New York City. While she was laying on the operating table, in a drug-induced coma, she received an unexpected surgery. Gwen Korovin, an ENT doctor, entered the operating room, uninvited. She wanted to perform surgery that the patient had neither wanted nor authorized. Then, without any privileges to operate at the clinic, without the patient's consent, and without moving the patient to the relative safety of a hospital, Korovin proceded to perform a surgical procedure, a biopsy, on Rivers. During the procedure, using various medical devices, she managed to choke Rivers, and Rivers died. Why? Because you always die, if you get no oxygen.

Water poisoning

If you drink water, nothing bad happens to you. Right? Wrong! In this hydration-obsessed culture you CAN drink yourself to death. If you drink too much water too quickly, you can die. Why? Because the kidneys can't process more than one liter of water per hour. And because inside the skull there is almost zero room to expand and swell. Thus the resulting brain edema, or swelling, can be disastrous. The symptoms of water poisoning are fatigue, frequent urination, headache, mental disorientation, nausea, vomiting, and hyponatremia.

Hyponatremia means insufficient salt (in the blood). The normal sodium concentration of blood is between 135 and 145 millimoles per liter. If it falls below 135 millimoles per liter, or below 0.4 ounces per gallon, then it's considered to be hyponatremia. And hyponatremia can lead to water poisoning.

When too much water is drunk in a short period of time, the kidneys can't flush it out fast enough. The excess water leaves the blood and ultimately enters the cells, which swell like balloons to accommodate it. Most cells have room to stretch. However, brain cells inside the skull cannot stretch. Thus a brain edema can be disastrous. Rapid entry of water into brain cells leads to brain swelling, which manifests as brain stem herniation, coma, respiratory arrest, seizure, or death.

Example 1: In a water drinking competition, one woman drank five liters of water in three hours. She died of water poisoning that resulted from hyponatremia, which was fatal.

Example 2: In a water-drinking contest, a California woman was found dead in her Rancho Cordoba home hours after a "Hold Your Wee for a Wii" on-the-air contest in which KDND 107.9 promised a Nintendo Wii game system for the winner. After downing 6 liters of water in 3 hours she vomited, complained of a terrible headache, and died of water poisoning. (2) (3)

Sources and references

(1) "Binge drinking contest kills banker, 22" by Richard Alleyne, The Telegraph, April 12, 2013.

(2) "Woman dies after water-drinking contest", Associated Press, updated 1/13/2007 10:24:31 pm ET.

(3) "Strange but true: drinking too much water can kill", by Coco Ballantyne, Scientific American, June 21, 2007.

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