Chagas Disease (American Trypanosomiasis)

EnolaGaia

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Chagas disease is a serious illness which - among other things - can lead to a grossly distended colon ('megacolon') and what can only be called death by constipation.

Chagas disease, also known as American trypanosomiasis, is a tropical parasitic disease caused by Trypanosoma cruzi. It is spread mostly by insects known as Triatominae, or "kissing bugs". The symptoms change over the course of the infection. In the early stage, symptoms are typically either not present or mild, and may include fever, swollen lymph nodes, headaches, or swelling at the site of the bite. After four to eight weeks, untreated individuals enter the chronic phase of disease, which in most cases does not result in further symptoms. Up to 45% of people with chronic infection develop heart disease 10–30 years after the initial illness, which can lead to heart failure. Digestive complications, including an enlarged esophagus or an enlarged colon, may also occur in up to 21% of people, and up to 10% of people may experience nerve damage.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chagas_disease
 

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In newly published research a mummified corpse from south Texas has been shown to have died of Chagas disease, and the deceased's final months must have been horrible.
Man who died of constipation 1,000 years ago ate grasshoppers for months

His mummified megacolon showed just how backed up he was.

A man who lived in the Lower Pecos Canyonlands of Texas sometime between 1,000 and 1,400 years ago may have died from a horrible case of constipation, according to a study of his mummified remains.

And during the painful months just prior to his death, he ate mainly grasshoppers, the study researchers found.

Apparently, Chagas disease, which is caused by a parasite called Trypanosoma cruzi, had blocked up the man's gastrointestinal system. That blockage caused his colon to swell to about six times its normal size — a condition called "megacolon." The man was unable to digest foods properly and gradually became malnourished, scientists found. The condition would have made it difficult for the man to walk or even eat on his own. The researchers think that in the last two to three months of his life — either family or members of his community — helped the man eat by feeding him grasshoppers whose legs had been removed. ...

"So they were giving him mostly the fluid-rich body — the squishable part of the grasshopper," Karl Reinhard, professor in the School of Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, said in a statement from the university. "In addition to being high in protein, it was pretty high in moisture. So it would have been easier for him to eat in the early stages of his megacolon experience."

A man named Guy Skiles found the remains — which had been naturally preserved and mummified by the arid conditions — in 1937 in a rockshelter near the junction of the Rio Grande and Pecos Rivers in South Texas. ...

More recently, studies with more advanced technologies have opened a dark window into this man's last months on Earth. For instance, in 2003, Reinhard's team reported in the journal Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz that they had found 2.6 pounds (1,170 grams) of feces inside the mummy along with a vast amount of food remains that his body never processed. These findings, along with the size of his colon, led the researchers to conclude that he was severely constipated and suffered malnourishment as his body couldn't properly process food.

In the new study, Reinhard and his colleagues reanalyzed the mummy's remains using a scanning electron microscope. That new scan revealed that his diet consisted largely of grasshoppers in his final months.

The researchers also found evidence in the man's colon of plant remains called phytoliths that showed just how "backed up" the man would have been. Teensy structures in plant tissues, phytoliths generally survive, unscathed, the adventurous trek through a person's digestive system. That wasn't the case for this man. ...

"The phytoliths were split open, crushed. And that means there was incredible pressure that was exerted on a microscopic level in this guy's intestinal system, which highlights even more the pathology that was exhibited here," Reinhard said in the statement. "I think this is unique in the annals of pathology — this level of intestinal blockage and the pressure that's associated with it." ...

The grasshopper diet discovery will be published in a chapter of a forthcoming book "The Handbook of Mummy Studies" (Springer, 2021). ...

FULL STORY: https://www.livescience.com/mummy-constipated-man-ate-grasshoppers.html
 

Kondoru

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From this country, so nothing to do with this condition,

Almost as a side note, in an archaeological talk, a photo of a Neolithic (??) skeleton with a pile of several pounds of blackberry seeds where his stomach was.

His last days must have been unpleasant, what with friends and relatives telling him `I told you not to eat those blackberries...`
 
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