The Monkey Island

By Anupum Pant

Off the coast of South Carolina is an island, the Morgan island, which is home to about 4000 monkeys. Locals call it the monkey island. Approximately 750 new baby monkeys join the monkey army on Morgan island every year. However, all the monkeys living in that island  are there for a reason. These monkeys are medical test subjects – used by researchers for medical testing – for vaccine testing (Polio, AIDS etc..). That is the reason about 500 monkeys are taken away from the island every year.

No humans live on this 4000 acre remote island. Also the Monkey island is a protected area and no unauthorised people are allowed to enter it. Only authorised monkey caretakers can go in. Others who try to enter will be greeted with a monkey-shit storm – Yes, monkeys of the Monkey island pelt feces at strangers.

Thankfully, the research isn’t done at the island itself. The island is like a store for all the monkeys. So you can rest assured that you won’t run across any mutant monkeys on this island, if you some how end up there.

Where did they come from?

They were all put there by us humans. Back in the 70s the monkey colony was at La Parguera in Puerto Rico. When there were reports of infected monkeys escaping and reaching human settlements, the locals were stirred. As a result, the monkeys were all collected and had to be shifted to a remote island where no one lived – Morgan Island.

[source]

A Bizarre Weight Loss Story – Year Without Food

By Anupum Pant

Background

What this grossly obese man did in the year 1965 is probably one of the most stupidest things you could emulate to lose weight. Doctors, and I would advice you totally against it. Yet, I felt that it’s good to know a stupid thing once in a while, in order to avoid it (maybe). Luckily, the man who did it, ended up fine and also lost several dozens of kilograms in the process. Here’s what happened…

Story time

A man who weighed 207 kg decided to go on a fast to lose weight. His fast lasted for 382 days. For the whole 1 year and 17 days, this man ate nothing. He only consumed “non-energy-containing fluids”, multi-vitamin tablets and potassium tablets. It’s important to know that he whole thing was monitored closely. It’s probably the longest reported fast. (A much much longer claimed fast – which they say lasted more than 70 years – is probably fake and pretty interesting too)

By the end of his fast, the man had lost around 126 kg of weight. That’s about 61% of his initial body weight! For the whole time, his body had used up the stored fat to power him. It was incredibly lucky for him that he did not face any adverse conditions while he was doing this. A slightly gross thing to know is that, since he wasn’t eating anything, he felt a need to use the bathroom only once in 40-50 days.

The Science of it

Normally if you don’t eat for a couple of hours, the human body is able to extract energy from the glucose in your bloodstream and liver. After about 8 hours, you no longer have any of the glucose left in your body.

Once the glucose is finished, the body starts burning a bunch off glucose molecules stuck together – known as glycogen, stored in muscles and liver. This source finishes off in about 2 days’ time. After that the body starts breaking down muscles. But that can be avoided by taking up a few defined exercise routines.

Next the body starts using up fat molecules into glycerol and free fatty acids. Everything in your body can run from this good source of energy. And that is how the fat gets lost. Surely, you don’t want to do that because you’ll end up sick, weak, depressed and cranky. You might even die if you try this.

[Source]

Bonus

Here’s an account of a person, who recently tried fasting for 11 months. Below is an image of what the fast did to him. Yes, he’s the same person (with a gap of 11 months of course). It was clearly a very bad experience. [Link]

before after

A Disease That Doesn’t Let You Sleep And Kills

By Anupum Pant

Background

In my very first article on this website, I talked about a 17-year-old boy, Randy Gardner who remained awake for an incredible 11 days and set a world record which no one had beat for a very long time. And then, in the 90s, Toimi Soini, of Hamina, Finland, set a new record of 276 hours of sleeplessness.

Well, no one should even try to beat it because depriving yourself of sleep can have some serious health issues and can even kill you. The seriousness of health consequences associated with such attempts is the reason that these records are no longer recorded in the Guinness books.

The disease

Not always do people decide to voluntarily break sleeplessness records. Some times, they can be the victims of a horrific and an extremely rare disease called fatal familial insomnia (FFI) – A progressively worsening form of insomnia discovered only 10-15 years ago. When it affects someone, the person starts having bouts of insomnia at first and then they aren’t able to sleep at all. Hallucinations, delirium, and confusional states occur and a person usually dies within 18 months from the first insomnia. 

The disease is caused due to a defective gene and the people having it start seeing symptoms from the age of 30 (never at an early age). It has been believed to have originated from an Italian man in the year 1765 (not necessarily).

Symptoms in detail

  • For the first four months there is an onset of insomnia and the person starts getting panic attacks and unfounded phobias.
  • For the the next 5 months the hallucinations become severe.
  • In the next 3 months, rapid weight loss and serious deterioration of mental ability happens,
  • Next comes dementia, unresponsiveness, and may be death.

[A list of couple of people who never slept]

Here’s a 10 minute documentary which discusses FFI in detail.

[Everything else you need to know about it]