What is dangerous corpse poison
Corpse poisoning is often described in fiction of the past centuries. In modern culture on the Internet you can find a lot of references to this subject, especially among adherents of unconventional methods of treatment, experts in magic rituals, and so on.
What is cadaveric poison and is it as dangerous as most people think?
Deadly poison: myths and legends
There are many superstitions associated with cadaveric poison. Allegedly, it is extremely poisonous, absorbed through the skin and kills within a few days. Prick a finger enough - and everything, the death is inevitable. Involuntarily imbued with respect to the workers of the morgues, and especially to the pathologists who walk along the edge of the knife.
Such superstitions come from the depths of the ages. Modern science explains the fear of the dead by the simple fact that right up to the beginning of the 20th century, epidemics of various infectious diseases raged on the planet. Most of them are characterized by high mortality and rate of spread. Therefore, it is quite natural that people noticed the connection between contact with corpses and morbidity. But the main factor here is death due to infection.
What is deadly poison
The phrase "deadly poison" is an outdated concept. Modern toxicology uses the term ptomains (from the Greek "ptoma", meaning dead body, corpse). This is a group of biogenic amines, which are the end product of the breakdown of protein and amino acids. They are formed by rotting dead organisms. Ptomains appear in a corpse on the third - fourth day after death from a corpse poison. The rate of their formation in this case directly depends on the temperature and humidity of the external environment. Accompanied by a process with signs of strong decomposition and a specific odor.
Four main chemical compounds are identified. All of them have low toxicity. The lethal hazard hazard indicator (LD50) indicates how much a substance must enter the body in order for a fatal poisoning to occur. For diamines cadaver poison it is very large:
- putrescine - 2000 mg / kg;
- kadaverin - 2000 mg / kg;
- spermidine and spermine - 600 mg / kg.
These data were obtained in a study on rats.
The most toxic of the ptomain group is neurin. For monkeys with intramuscular injection, LD50 is 11 mg / kg, which automatically classifies it as a highly toxic substance. But this substance has no practical significance, since in rotting remains it is formed in very small quantities.
The most studied of the group of ptomain cadaverine. The substance clearly explains about the cadaveric poison, that it is not some kind of extremely dangerous combination for life. In a living person, cadaverine is formed in the large intestine as a result of digestion processes. It is also found in:
- fly agaric;
- ergot horns;
- soy and other products of plant origin.
Therefore, death from deadly poison is impossible!
Poisoning with biogenic amines
Poisoning with corpse poison is practically impossible. The topic was rather seriously developed in the 20s of the last century in Russia by forensic physicians. In the experiments on frogs, the low toxicity of the ptomain is unequivocally 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 experiments on animals, the following symptoms of cadaveric poisoning are noted:
- mucus in the airways;
Poisoning with corpse poison is also difficult for other reasons.
- Cadaverine and putrescine are neutralized in an acidic environment, in particular, under the influence of gastric juice.
- When released into the blood is neutralized in the liver.
So the body copes with deadly poisons. In addition, small doses of cadaverine and putrescine are found in plants and some foods. For example, the content of cadaveric poison in beer was established not so long ago. Biogenic amines isolated from the drink (cadaverine, putrescine, histamine and tyramine) are likely to get into it from malt. Not all of them are related to ptomains.
Another “horror story” mentioned in the literature is the deadly poison in water. Allegedly, when adding even a small amount to the water supply system, people die in terrible agony. It has already been mentioned that when they enter the gastrointestinal tract, the ptomains are quickly neutralized, and a very large dose is required for their toxic action.
So the cases described are not associated with cadaveric poison, but with a source of bacterial infection, for example, botulism.
What is dangerous contact with cadaveric poison
Pathologists know that getting cadaveric material in open wounds can cause inflammation and sepsis. This is due to a certain kind of bacteria that actively develop after death in biological material.
The first danger is staphylococcus. Signs of cadaver poisoning in this case are not associated with biogenic amines, but with infection. At the same time, a simple touch to the corpse of a healthy person does not threaten.
Is there any use in cadaveric poison
So, we figured out what is dangerous cadaveric poison. It turned out that he is not so scary. Not only that, biogenic amines are beneficial. In small doses, ptomains stimulate the body, as they are biological substances and activate many biochemical processes.
The most obvious example is the drug ASD, developed in the post-war years by the scientist A.V. Dorogovy in the laboratory of tissue therapy. This medicine is obtained from meat and bone meal by sublimation without oxygen at high temperature. At the same time, many biologically active low-molecular substances are formed, including biogenic amines. Acute and chronic infections, wounds, burns, skin diseases, stomach ulcers and even oncology are treated with the help of ASD.
Cadaveric poison in the delicacies of the peoples of the North
Does cadaveric poison form in meat? Yes, it is. But in addition to it, in the process of protein breakdown, other toxic substances are also released: indole, skatole, phenol, urea. They give the meat an unpleasant smell, which people try to remove with the help of spices and soaking in vinegar.
It is quite possible to poison yourself with such meat products. Headache, weakness, dizziness, nausea.
The indigenous people of the Far North prepare national dishes 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 it is a shark hakarl, in the territory from Greenland to Chukotka it is a Kiwiak (a seal stuffed with gulls and buried for seven months). Russian Chukchi just adore a deer meat steak, seasoned for several weeks in a barn. And kopalhem - a deer buried on a rainy day in a swamp is not only a delicacy, but also sacred food.
People who are not accustomed to culinary delights of this kind are not recommended to experiment with themselves. The fact is that the organism of the aborigines since childhood acquires tolerance (immunity) to poisonous substances contained in rotten meat. To a person of a different nationality, the use of such a delicacy threatens serious food poisoning.
So, if you are not an aboriginal of the Far North, then refrain from eating stale meat and stuffed foods. In all other cases, contact with dead organics is not threatened with corpse poisoning. It is enough to follow the basic rules of hygiene and sanitation - and there will be no consequences from contact with corpse poison.