What is dangerous cadaveric poison
Poisoning with cadaveric poison is often described in the fiction of past centuries. In modern culture on the Internet, you can find many references to this subject, especially among adepts of non-traditional methods of treatment, specialists in magical rites and so on.
What is cadaveric poison and is it really as dangerous as most people think?
Cadaveric poison: myths and legends
There are many superstitions associated with cadaveric poison. Allegedly it is extremely toxic, absorbed through the skin and kills for several days. It is enough to prick your finger - and that's all, death is inevitable. Involuntarily imbued with respect to the workers of the morgues and especially to the pathologists who walk along the tip of the knife.
Such superstitions go from the depths of centuries. Modern science explains the fear of the dead by the simple fact that, up to the beginning of the 20th century, epidemics of various infectious diseases on the planet were rampant. Most of them are characterized by high mortality and speed of spread. Therefore, it is quite natural that people have noticed the connection between contact with corpses and morbidity. But the main factor here is death due to infection.
What is corpse venom
The very phrase "cadaveric poison" is an outdated concept. Modern toxicology operates with the term ptomain (from the Greek "ptoma", meaning dead body, corpse). This is a group of biogenic amines, which are the final product of the breakdown of protein and amino acids. They are formed when decaying dead organisms. Ptomains appear in the corpse on the third - fourth day after death from corpse venom. The rate of their formation in this case directly depends on the temperature and humidity of the external environment. The process is accompanied by signs of strong decomposition and a specific smell.
Four basic chemical compounds are distinguished. They all have low toxicity. Poison hazard index - lethal dose (LD50), indicates how much the substance must enter the body in order to cause a fatal poisoning result. For diamines of cadaveric poison, it is very large:
- putrescine - 2000 mg / kg;
- cadaverine - 2000 mg / kg;
- spermidine and spermine - 600 mg / kg.
These data were obtained during a study in rats.
The most toxic of the group of ptomas is recognized as the neurin. For monkeys with intramuscular injection, LD50 is 11 mg / kg, which automatically classifies it as a group of highly toxic substances. But this substance has no practical value, since in rotting remains it is formed in very small amounts.
The most studied is cadaverine from the ptamain group. The substance clearly explains the cadaveric poison, that it is not some extremely dangerous for life activity connection. In a living person, cadaverine is formed in the thick part of the intestine as a result of digestion processes. It is also found in:
- fly agarics;
- horns of ergot;
- soy and other products of plant origin.
Therefore, death from cadaveric poison is impossible!
Poisoning with nutrient amines
It is almost impossible to poison with cadaveric poison. The topic was seriously developed in the 20s of the last century in Russia by forensic doctors. In experiments on frogs, the low toxicity of ptomas was unambiguously established. Any significant reaction occurs only with the direct introduction into the blood of pure cadaverine or putrescine in a large dose.
In laboratory conditions, when conducting animal experiments, the following symptoms of poisoning with cadaveric poison are noted:
- mucus in the airways;
Poison cadaveric poison is also difficult for other reasons.
- Cadaverine and putrescine are rendered harmless in an acidic environment, in particular, under the influence of gastric juice.
- When ingested, it is rendered harmless in the liver.
So the body copes with cadaveric poisons. In addition, cadaverine and putrescine in small doses are found in plants and some food products. For example, not so long ago, the content of cadaveric poison in beer was established. Biogenic amines isolated from the beverage (cadaverine, putrescine, histamine and tyramine) are likely to fall into it from malt. Not all of them belong to ptomain.
Another "scarecrow", mentioned in the literature - a cadaveric poison in the water. Allegedly, with the addition of even a small amount to the water supply system, people die in terrible agony. It has already been mentioned that when ingested in the gastrointestinal tract ptomaines are quickly rendered harmless, and for their toxic effect a very high dose is required.
So the cases described are not associated with cadaveric poison, but with a source of bacterial infection, for example, with botulism.
Than contact with a corpse poison is dangerous
Pathologists know that getting cadaveric material into open wounds can lead to inflammation and sepsis. This is due to certain bacteria that actively develop after death in biological material.
In the first place, the danger is staphylococcus. Signs of poisoning with cadaveric poison are in this case not related to biogenic amines, but to infection. At the same time, a simple touch of a corpse to a healthy person does not threaten anything.
Is there any benefit in corpse venom
So, we figured out how dangerous the cadaveric poison is. It turned out that he is not so terrible. Moreover, biogenic amines benefit. In small doses, ptomains stimulate the body, as they are biological substances and activate many biochemical processes.
The most obvious example is the ASD preparation, developed in the postwar years by the scientist A.V. Dorogovym in the laboratory of tissue therapy. Get this medicine from meat-and-bone meal by sublimation without access of oxygen at high temperature. At the same time, many biologically active low-molecular substances are formed, including biogenic amines. With ASD, acute and chronic infections, wounds, burns, skin diseases, stomach ulcers and even oncology are treated.
Cadaveric poison in the delicacies of the peoples of the North
Is cadaveric poison in the meat? Yes, it does. But apart from it, other toxic substances are also released during the breakdown of the protein: indole, skatole, phenol, urea. They give the meat an unpleasant smell, which people try to clean with spices and soaking in vinegar.
Such meat products can be poisoned. There is a headache, weakness, dizziness, nausea.
The indigenous inhabitants of the Far North are preparing dishes of national cuisine that shock an unprepared person. Meat is buried in the sand on the surf line for several weeks or months, and then eaten as a delicacy. In Iceland this is a hakarl from a shark, in territory from Greenland to Chukotka - kiwiak (a seal stuffed with seagulls and buried for seven months). Russian Chukchi simply adore the stew of reindeer, soaked for several weeks in the shed. A kopalham - a deer, buried on a black day in the swamp - not only a delicacy, but also sacred food.
People who are not accustomed to a similar kind of culinary delights, it is not recommended to put on experiments. The fact is that the body of Aborigines from childhood acquires tolerance (immunity) to poisonous substances contained in rotten meat. A man of a different nationality, the use of such a delicacy threatens with serious food poisoning.
So, if you are not aboriginal of the Far North, then refrain from using stale meat and products with smell. In all other cases, contact with dead organics is not threatened with poisoning with cadaveric poisons. It is enough to observe the elementary rules of hygiene and sanitation - and there will be no consequences from contact with cadaveric poison.