WTF Fun Fact 13591 – The Grandmother Hypothesis

Have you heard of the grandmother hypothesis? Basically, it means grandma was right about washing behind your ears!

When it comes to maintaining skin health, certain regions, like behind the ears and between the toes, often get overlooked. Research by the George Washington University reveals why paying attention to these areas is essential. The skin microbiome, which refers to the collection of microbes residing on our skin, has shown variation in composition across different skin regions, be it dry, moist, or oily.

Exploring the Grandmother Hypothesis

The GW Computational Biology Institute set out to explore the widely accepted but scientifically unproven “Grandmother Hypothesis.” Keith Crandall, Director of the Computational Biology Institute, recalls the age-old advice from grandmothers: always scrub behind the ears, between the toes, and inside the belly button. But why? The belief is that these less frequently washed areas might house different bacterial compositions compared to more regularly scrubbed parts of the body.

To put this to the test, Marcos Pérez-Losada and Keith Crandall designed a unique genomics course, involving 129 graduate and undergraduate students. These students collected data by swabbing areas like behind their ears, between their toes, and their navels. For comparison, samples were also taken from drier regions such as calves and forearms.

Revealing Differences in Microbial Diversity

The results were enlightening. Forearms and calves, often cleaned more diligently during baths, displayed a broader and presumably healthier range of microbes. This is compared to hotspots like behind the ears and between the toes. A balanced skin microbiome is essential for skin health. A dominance of harmful microbes can disrupt this balance, potentially leading to skin conditions such as eczema or acne.

The study’s outcomes suggest that cleaning habits indeed impact the microbial population on the skin, further influencing its health. Thus, the age-old advice from our grandparents holds some truth after all!

Implications of the Grandmother Hypothesis

The research carried out by the GW Computational Biology Institute provides significant insights into the skin microbiome of healthy adults. It serves as a benchmark for future studies. There is still a long way to go in understanding the intricacies of how the microbial community on our skin impacts our overall health or disease state.

The study titled “Spatial diversity of the skin bacteriome” marked an essential milestone in the field. It sheds light on the diverse bacterial communities residing in different parts of our skin. Published in the renowned journal Frontiers in Microbiology on September 19, it is a stepping stone to further research in this rapidly evolving domain.

In conclusion, paying heed to the lesser-focused regions of our skin, as our ancestors advised, might be the key to ensuring a balanced and healthy skin microbiome. So next time you shower, remember to scrub those often-neglected areas!

 WTF fun facts

Source: “Skin behind the ears and between the toes can host a collection of unhealthy microbes” — ScienceDaily

WTF Fun Fact 13589 – A Voice Test for Diabetes

If you’re scared of needles, you might be interested to know that researchers are investigating a possible voice test for diabetes.

That’s right. A brief recording of your voice could indicate whether or not you have diabetes.

A Voice Test for Diabetes?

A program designed to use no more than 10 seconds of speech has proven capable of identifying the presence of diabetes with remarkable accuracy.

In an experiment conducted by Klick Labs, 267 individuals recorded a short phrase on their smartphones six times a day over a span of two weeks. This group had recently undergone testing for Type 2 diabetes. The aim? To discern any acoustic differences between the voices of those who tested positive and those who didn’t.

By analyzing the participants’ voice prints in conjunction with data like age, sex, height, and weight, an AI model made astonishing predictions. The accuracy rate stood at 86% for men and an even higher 89% for women.

Unraveling the Science Behind Voice Analysis

The question arises: Why does diabetes influence one’s voice? The synthesis of our voice is a multifaceted process that integrates the respiratory system, nervous system, and the larynx. Factors that impact any of these systems can, in turn, alter the voice. While such changes might escape the human ear, computers, with their advanced analytical capacities, can detect them with precision.

Among the vocal attributes studied, pitch and its variation proved to be the most predictive of diabetes. Interestingly, some vocal attributes only enhanced prediction accuracy for one gender. For instance, “perturbation jitter” was a key factor for women, whereas “amplitude perturbation quotient shimmer” was significant for men.

It’s worth noting that prolonged elevated blood sugar can impair peripheral nerves and muscle fibers, leading to voice disorders. Moreover, even temporary elevations in blood glucose can potentially influence vocal cord elasticity, though this theory still awaits validation. Furthermore, emotional factors, such as anxiety and depression—both of which can be associated with diabetes—may further modulate voice characteristics.

Beyond Conventional Diabetes Testing

Jaycee Kaufman, the leading author of the study, emphasized the transformative potential of their findings: “Voice technology can potentially revolutionize the way the medical community screens for diabetes. Traditional detection methods can be cumbersome, both in terms of time and cost. This technology could eliminate these challenges altogether.”

Considering the global surge in diabetes cases, and the complications arising from late diagnoses, the introduction of a non-invasive, rapid testing tool can be a game-changer. The International Diabetes Federation has highlighted that nearly 50% of adults with diabetes remain unaware of their condition. Predictably, this unawareness is most pronounced in nations where healthcare infrastructure is stretched thin. The economic implications are staggering, with undiagnosed diabetes projected to cost an exorbitant $2.1 trillion annually by 2030.

Voice technology, as an alternative to blood sample-based tests, presents a promising avenue for early detection and intervention.

A Healthier Future Using A Voice Test for Diabetes

Buoyed by the success of their study, Klick Labs is planning a larger-scale project. They aim not only to refine the accuracy of their model but also to expand its scope. Their vision extends beyond diabetes detection, as they explore its applicability to conditions like prediabetes and hypertension.

Yan Fossat, co-author of the study, expressed enthusiasm for the innovation: “Voice technology has the potential to usher in a new era in healthcare, positioning itself as a vital digital screening tool that’s both accessible and economical.”

As the study gains traction and the technology evolves, the implications for global health are profound. With the power of voice technology, a world where early, easy, and efficient disease detection is the norm, may not be too far off.

 WTF fun facts

Source: “10 Seconds Of Recorded Speech Can Reveal If Someone Has Diabetes” — IFL Science

WTF Fun Fact 13580 – Deadliest Heart Attacks on Monday

Heart attacks on Monday seem to be a recurring theme. Recent findings suggest that, for some reason, people are more likely to face life-threatening heart issues as the new week kicks off. Let’s dive into what the research says and why this might be happening.

The Monday Mystery

A big conference in Manchester brought some surprising news to the table. Medical experts from Belfast and Ireland checked out hospital data for over 10,000 patients from 2013 to 2018. They found that a very serious type of heart attack, called STEMI, was more common on Mondays. Basically, STEMI is when a main blood vessel to the heart gets fully blocked. If doctors don’t treat it fast, it can be deadly.

Now, every year, around 30,000 people in the UK end up in the hospital because of STEMI. They get a quick check and usually undergo a procedure to unblock the vessel and get blood pumping properly again. What’s odd is that this research found Mondays had a 13% higher chance of people coming in with this problem. Even Sundays had a bit of a bump.

But why Mondays? Well, that’s the big question. Some older studies think our body’s natural sleep-wake cycle might play a role. But the full picture isn’t clear yet.

Doctors Weigh in on Heart Attacks on Monday

Dr. Jack Laffan, who headed the study, admits that this Monday trend is curious. He thinks several factors might be at play. One idea is our body’s natural clock. Our sleep patterns, wake-up times, and daily habits could influence when heart attacks happen.

Meanwhile, another expert, Professor Sir Nilesh Samani, stresses the importance of these findings. Heart attacks are always a medical emergency, no matter the day. He believes that the more we learn about the “Monday effect”, the better doctors can prepare and save more lives.

In the end, while Mondays might have a higher rate of heart attacks, every day is important when it comes to heart health. Whether it’s stress from starting a new work week or something else entirely, the research continues. The goal is always to protect our hearts and understand what might put them at risk.

 WTF fun facts

Source: “Why are serious heart attacks more likely on a Monday?” — British Heart Foundation

WTF Fun Fact 13574 – Katalin Karikó

Katalin Karikó’s journey to Nobel glory is one of resilience and steadfast dedication. A biochemist, Karikó had always been keen on exploring the therapeutic potentials of mRNA.

She obtained her PhD from Hungary’s esteemed Szeged University in 1982 and secured a tenure-track professor position at the University of Pennsylvania in 1989. But her research into RNA faced numerous challenges.

Funding eluded her, and her experiments saw little success. The 1990s brought more trials. This included a cancer diagnosis, the choice to abandon her research or accept a demotion, and a pay cut. She chose the latter, demonstrating her unyielding commitment to mRNA’s potential.

Katalin Karikó”s Partnership with Weissman

1997 marked a turning point. Immunologist Drew Weissman joined the University of Pennsylvania and partnered with Karikó. His interest lay in developing an HIV vaccine. The goal was to prime immune responses with dendritic cells, known for training T cells against foreign antigens. Their collaboration led to the discovery that synthetic, unmodified mRNA provoked dendritic cells into activating inflammatory responses.

The duo’s realization that mammalian cell RNA was frequently chemically modified (while bacterial DNA and RNA often weren’t) changed the course of their research. Another significant insight was that toll-like receptors (TLRs) specifically detected DNA and RNA modifications to trigger inflammation. Their 2005 research paper unveiled that synthetic RNA activated several TLRs, causing inflammatory responses. But adding specific modifications to the synthetic mRNA’s bases curtailed these responses and even enhanced protein production.

mRNA Shaping Modern Vaccine Production

This groundbreaking work ushered in the era of mRNA therapeutics. It catalyzed the inception of Moderna and BioNTech, the companies that later formulated the lifesaving mRNA COVID-19 vaccines. A testament to Karikó and Weissman’s work is the modified base m1 Ψ, now integral to Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine production.

Recognition Overlooked Despite the promise and subsequent success of her research, Karikó’s contributions remained largely overshadowed. The scientific community’s initial apathy was evident: post their 2005 revelation, Karikó revealed a lack of interest from peers and major biopharma companies. By 2013, this disregard culminated in her departure from the University of Pennsylvania. Yet, adversity wasn’t new to her. Rather than be deterred, she associated with BioNTech, ascending from hands-on benchwork to senior vice presidency. In 2021, she returned to academia, serving at Szeged University and as adjunct faculty at UPenn. Meanwhile, Weissman continued at UPenn, helming the Penn Institute for RNA Innovations.

Katalin Karikó and Nobel Acclaim

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine awarded to Karikó and Weissman celebrates their persistent, pioneering work on mRNA technology. This research directly paved the way for the creation of the frontrunner COVID-19 vaccines. It’s a fitting tribute to Karikó, who faced professional setbacks and health challenges, yet never deviated from her belief in mRNA’s potential. For her, the Nobel isn’t just an award—it’s validation of decades of unwavering commitment.

The story of Katalin Karikó story serves as an inspiring lesson on perseverance. Her Nobel win, alongside Drew Weissman, underscores the importance of dedication to scientific exploration, even in the face of skepticism and adversity. Their work expanded our understanding of mRNA and provided the foundation for life-saving vaccines during a global pandemic.

 WTF fun facts

Source: “After being demoted and forced to retire, mRNA researcher wins Nobel” — Ars Technica

WTF Fun Fact 13565 – A Way To Regrow Teeth?

Many of us grapple with tooth loss after an injury or other dental issue – so wouldn’t it be nice if, instead of paying thousands of dollars for a porcelain replacement, scientists found a way to help us regrow teeth?

Well, we’re getting closer!

Researchers from the University of Plymouth have made groundbreaking progress, unveiling a gene that may hold the secret to tooth regeneration.

The Power of Stem Cells

Historically, stem cells have been the beacon of hope in understanding and treating many diseases. That’s because they hold unparalleled potential by being capable of transforming into almost any cell type the body might need. Whether it’s forming new blood cells or rejuvenating bone cells, stem cells are invaluable in helping us recover and regenerate.

It’s no wonder, then, that scientists often harvest stem cells from youthful sources like primary teeth or wisdom teeth. Simply put, younger cells teem with vitality, making them robust candidates for regenerative medicine.

Stem cell therapy has, over the years, provided relief to patients battling conditions ranging from Alzheimer’s and diabetes to multiple sclerosis.

However, only recently have scientists honed in on how stem cells can revolutionize dental health.

Revolutionary Findings to Help Regrow Teeth

Dr. Bing Hu of the Peninsula Dental School at the University of Plymouth and his global team of scientists have uncovered a game-changing revelation: the Dlk1 gene. This gene seems to be the catalyst for enhanced stem cell activation and tissue renewal.

Their journey began with the discovery of a previously unknown group of stem cells in mouse incisors.

Typically found in muscles and bones, these mesenchymal cells spring into action when exposed to the Dlk1 gene. The result? An increased production of dentin – a crucial component in teeth.

Even more impressive was Dlk1’s ability to regenerate tissues in mice with dental injuries.

Future Implications

Of course, with all major discoveries come the caveats. Dr. Hu emphasizes the importance of further studies to cement their initial findings. Yet, he remains optimistic about transitioning from animal models to human trials soon.

This research is a beacon of hope for those who have struggled financially to have lost teeth replaced. Imagine a future where dental procedures are not only more efficient but also more affordable. A future where losing a tooth doesn’t spell permanent loss, but a temporary inconvenience.

While the Plymouth team’s findings are revolutionary, they aren’t the first to tread this path. Back in 2021, a study from Japan revealed the potential of targeting genes to regrow teeth in animals. Their focus? The USAG-1 gene. Fast forward to today, and this Japanese team is setting the stage for a 2024 clinical trial, targeting tooth regeneration in humans.

If all goes well, by 2030, we might be ushering in a new era of dental care.

 WTF fun facts

Source: “Humans Have a Third Set of Teeth. New Medicine May Help Them Grow” — Popular Mechanics and “Scientists Discover New Gene That Can Help Repair Teeth” — Today’s RDH

WTF Fun Fact 13558 – Mental Imagery

Teenagers are often vulnerable to spirals of negative thoughts, but new research suggests a possible solution: mental imagery.

The Study on Mental Imagery for Teens

Oregon State’s Hannah Lawrence, an assistant professor of psychology, spearheaded the study. The results indicated that shifting focus to mental imagery acts is a strong distractor. In fact, it’s more of a distraction than simple verbal thoughts for adolescents trapped in negative ruminations.

Lawrence’s insights shine a light on a significant issue. Drowning in past regrets not only deepens one’s sorrow but also makes emotional regulation a greater challenge.

Introducing brief diversions, especially in the form of mental imagery, offers a momentary break from these cyclic patterns. This could potentially facilitate a bridge to more extensive help through therapy, familial support, or friendships.

Experiment Procedure

Published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, the research aimed to contrast the impact of verbal thoughts and imagery-based thoughts on the general mood of adolescent participants.

The study encompassed 145 participants, aged 13 to 17, predominantly white, with 62% females. These individuals were from a rural New England area. A striking 39% displayed symptoms consistent with clinical depression.

The mood-setting phase involved an online game, inducing feelings of exclusion among the participants. Subsequently, they were divided into groups, engaging in either rumination or distraction exercises using either verbal or imagery-based prompts.

For rumination, a prompt might be “Imagine the kind of person you think you should be.” For distraction, it could be as mundane as “Think about your grocery list.”

Key Findings on the Power of Mental Imagery

The research found that both forms of rumination (verbal and imagery) affected the participants’ moods similarly. However, mental imagery stood out as a more potent form of distraction.

Lawrence noted, “Using mental imagery seems to help us improve our affect, as well as regulate our nervous system.” The form of negative thoughts, be it verbal or visual, may not matter as much as the relentless focus on distressing matters.

The potency of mental imagery is still not entirely understood. It may be the case that imagery demands more effort and is more immersive. Therefore, it elicits stronger emotional responses, thus serving as a better distraction.

There’s also evidence suggesting that visualizing mental images activates the same brain regions as witnessing those events firsthand.

The Evolution of Rumination

Lawrence has observed that while some adults stick to one form of rumination, most teenagers report employing both verbal thoughts and mental imagery. These patterns might solidify over time, becoming habitual and reinforcing the negative imagery or messages.

Lawrence highlights the crucial nature of her work with teenagers, expressing her hope that early interventions can help these youngsters navigate to adulthood without being tethered to detrimental thought patterns.

 WTF fun facts

Source: “Mental imagery a helpful way to distract teens from negative thought patterns” — Science Daily

WTF Fun Fact 13557 – Lucid Dying

A groundbreaking study spearheaded by NYU Grossman School of Medicine explored the concept of “lucid dying” and dives deeper into what is termed as “lucid death experiences.”

Lucid dying refers to the vivid, clear, and conscious experiences that some cardiac arrest survivors recall having when they were supposedly unconscious. The study involved 567 patients. Fewer than 10% made a sufficient recovery after CPR to leave the hospital. But the survivors had some fascinating stories to share. Four 4 out of every 10 of these survivors remembered experiencing some degree of consciousness during CPR.

What the Brain Shows During Lucid Dying

Advanced brain monitoring techniques provide a more in-depth look into what happens during these moments. For some patients, nearly 40% displayed brain activity reverting to normal, or close to normal, even an hour into CPR from a previously “flatline” state. This was measured using EEG technology, a tool that traces brain activity. These patients exhibited spikes in brain waves linked to higher cognitive functions.

Survivors have historically spoken of heightened awareness and potent, lucid experiences during near-death moments. They’ve described sensations such as detaching from their bodies, painlessly observing events, and conducting profound assessments of their actions and relationships throughout their lives. The study emphasizes that these are not mere hallucinations, delusions, or dreams. Instead, they appear distinct from such states and even differ from CPR-induced consciousness.

Why Does This Happen?

Researchers propose that as the brain approaches a “flatlined” state, its natural inhibitory systems get deactivated. This phenomenon is termed disinhibition.

This might grant access to “new dimensions of reality.” These could include vivid memories spanning one’s entire life, seen through a moral lens. The evolutionary reason behind such experiences remains unknown. Still, the fact that they happen prompts further investigation into the mysteries of the human mind and the event of dying.

Clinical Implications of Lucid Dying

Most doctors believe that the brain endures irreversible damage approximately 10 minutes after the heart stops supplying oxygen. However, this research demonstrates the potential for the brain to show signs of electrical recovery well into the CPR process.

Such findings suggest that these recalled experiences and changes in brain waves could be hallmarks of universal elements in so-called near-death situations.

Dr. Sam Parnia, the lead researcher of the study, had an interesting perspective. He noted, “These experiences provide a glimpse into a real, yet little understood dimension of human consciousness that becomes uncovered with death.”

Such insights could lead to innovative methods to restart the heart. They might also help prevent potential brain injuries, or have implications in transplantation procedures.

The AWARE-II Study

The AWAreness during REsuscitation (AWARE)-II study, involved observing 567 individuals who suffered cardiac arrests during their hospitalizations between 2017 and 2020 across the US and UK. By only enrolling hospitalized patients, the study ensured standardized CPR, resuscitation, and brain activity recording methods. A fraction of these patients, 85 in number, underwent brain monitoring throughout their CPR.

Additionally, the testimonies of 126 survivors from the community who remembered their experiences of death were also scrutinized. These helped provide a broader perspective on the themes tied to the recollection of dying.

The research brings up fascinating new hypotheses about lucid dying. But it neither confirms nor refutes the validity or implications of patients’ experiences and awareness during their brushes with death. However, these experiences surrounding death are deemed worthy of more exhaustive scientific investigation.

Future studies may aim to pinpoint biomarkers of clinical consciousness and observe the prolonged psychological aftermath of being resuscitated post-cardiac arrest.

 WTF fun facts

Source: “New evidence indicates patients recall death experiences after cardiac arrest” — Science Daily

WTF Fun Fact 13554 – The Most Dangerous Jobs

When we think of the most dangerous jobs, our minds often drift to high-action roles, like police officers or firefighters. However, statistical data paints a different, more nuanced picture.

It’s not uncommon to hear discussions about the perils of patrolling the streets. However, data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) sheds light on the occupations that statistically face higher risks daily, and they might not be the ones you’re thinking of.

The Real Most Dangerous Jobs in America

Various blue-collar roles often go unnoticed in their level of peril.

For example, mechanics – both supervisors and those specializing in heavy vehicles – face significant challenges in their workplaces. Heavy vehicle mechanics, dealing with substantial machinery like bulldozers and tractors, confront transportation incidents frequently, with many hazards stemming from the machines they’re entrusted to service.

It’s not just the machinery-oriented jobs that bear these dangers. Those who maintain our public and private spaces, grounds maintenance workers, also navigate risks. Their tasks might appear benign – manicuring lawns, trimming trees, and tending to parks – but their fatal injury rate is on par with heavy vehicle mechanics. Surprisingly, transportation incidents are their predominant threat.

Moreover, general maintenance workers and construction laborers experience considerable hazards. Accidental contact with objects, equipment malfunctions, and falls from significant heights are everyday threats they navigate, often without the same public acknowledgment of their risks.

Perspective on Peril

When juxtaposed with police officers’ fatal injury rate of 14 per 100,000 workers, it becomes evident that several other occupations face equal or even greater threats. The BLS data brings forth an intriguing perspective: while the dangers of law enforcement are well-publicized and recognized, many other workers face similar or heightened risks in relative obscurity.

So the real most dangerous jobs?

  • Logging workers
  • Airline pilot and flight engineers
  • Derrick operators in oil and gas
  • Roofers
  • Garbage collectors
  • Iron workers
  • Delivery drivers
  • Farmers

Even crossing guards rank higher on the deadly jobs list than police officers, which come in at #22. And it’s not that having the 22nd most dangerous job isn’t dangerous – it certainly is. The issue is we don’t often appreciate the extent to which the people who collect our trash or deliver our packages also put their lives on the line every day when they head to work.

Behind the Numbers

The BLS’s Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries is a treasure trove for understanding the nuances of workplace fatalities. This analysis spotlighted 263 professions, each boasting a workforce of at least 50,000 individuals.

To determine the fatal injury rate, fatalities were compared to the number of roles in that occupation. The average from 2014-2018 was then calculated to minimize the influence of yearly variations.

Information regarding the predominant causes of fatal accidents was extracted from this comprehensive census. Simultaneously, salary insights came from the Occupational Employment Statistics Survey.

Recognizing the latent dangers in these professions accentuates the importance of proper safety training and practices. It’s important to acknowledge the sacrifices and challenges faced by these unsung heroes in our everyday lives.

So, the next time you see a mechanic working under a vehicle, a roofer working on a house, or your local trash collector, take a moment to appreciate their dedication and the risks they take daily.

 WTF fun facts

Source: “Top 25 most dangerous jobs in the United States” — Industrial Safety and Hygiene News

WTF Fun Fact 13539 – Male Menstruation in Egypt

While male menstruation sounds like an anomaly, accounts from Egypt painted a curious picture.

During the Napoleonic campaigns in the early 19th century, French soldiers noted a peculiar condition among the local Egyptian men: many reported blood in their urine, leading to the label “the land of the menstruating men.”

Deciphering Male Menstruation

The actual cause behind this perplexing phenomenon is a parasitic disease named schistosomiasis. It originates from Schistosoma worms.

When freshwater snails infected with these parasites release larvae, those larvae can penetrate the skin of humans who come into contact with the water.

Once the larvae invade a human host, they mature into adult worms that live in the blood vessels. The female worms lay eggs, some of which the body excretes through urine or feces, and some remain in the body.

It’s these eggs that can cause inflammation, tissue damage, and bleeding when they lodge in the bladder or intestine.

The presence of blood in urine, or hematuria, became a characteristic symptom among many Egyptian men. This sign of schistosomiasis was the source of the “male menstruation” confusion.

The disease not only caused physical distress but also carried a significant cultural and psychological burden given the societal perceptions of the symptoms.

French Soldiers and Schistosomiasis

In the late 18th century, under the leadership of Napoleon Bonaparte, French ambitions extended beyond Europe, aiming to challenge the British Empire’s growing dominance.

The French campaign in Egypt, which began in 1798, was a strategic endeavor to disrupt British trade routes to India and spread revolutionary ideals. Napoleon, with an army of approximately 35,000 soldiers, invaded Egypt, capturing Alexandria and later Cairo.

This expedition was not purely military; it also included scholars and scientists who studied the ancient and contemporary culture of Egypt. Their presence led to significant discoveries, including the famed Rosetta Stone.

However, while the campaign had initial successes, it faced challenges, such as an encounter with schistosomiasis.

While the local Egyptians bore the “menstruating men” moniker, the French soldiers were not immune. Many who waded in the Nile for bathing or other activities also contracted the disease. However, the term likely stuck more with the Egyptians due to pre-existing observations.

Unraveling the Mystery of Menstruating Men

It took some time before medical professionals connected the dots. The visible blood in urine, a clear symptom of a severe schistosomiasis infection, was initially misunderstood. (However, both men and women suffered from this symptom.)

Eventually, with advancements in medical knowledge and further studies in parasitology, the real nature of the disease became apparent. Scientists and doctors recognized that the “male menstruation” was actually a manifestation of schistosomiasis.

Modern medicine offers effective treatments for schistosomiasis, primarily using the drug praziquantel. Efforts to control the disease also focus on reducing the population of infected snails and improving sanitation to prevent contamination of freshwater sources. Education campaigns aim to reduce human contact with infested water.

Today, the disease remains endemic in many parts of Africa, including Egypt, but global health initiatives strive to reduce its impact.

Recognizing the history and myths surrounding schistosomiasis can help in understanding its cultural implications and the importance of continued efforts to combat it.

 WTF fun facts

Source: “History of schistosomiasis (bilharziasis) in humans: from Egyptian medical papyri to molecular biology on mummies” — Pathogens and Global Health