Amazing things removed from the human body

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I'm not a big reality-show guy, but I just couldn't resist a show called 101 Things Removed from the Human Body, a one-off program so nasty that Wikipedia refers to it as a "Shockumentary." Good taste aside, it's pretty amazing what can rattle around in our bodies; we are, it turns out, extremely adaptable creatures. According to the show, some of the things removed from people include an iron bar (through the skull ... you all remember Phineas Gage), a live grenade (removed from someone's leg) and a bike pump and a bag of nails (from the rear). Regarding that last pair, a doctor interviewed on the show had this to say: "My advice to anyone who's contemplating inserting a rectal foreign body - is not to do it."

By far the most outlandish foreign body discovered, though, was an actual body -- from a 36-year-old Indian man -- thanks to a very rare condition called Fetus in fetu.

You heard right:

Very early in a monozygotic twin pregnancy, in which both fetuses share a common placenta, one fetus wraps around and envelops the other. The enveloped twin becomes a parasite, in that its survival depends on the survival of its host twin, by drawing on the host twin's blood supply. Invariably the parasitic twin is anencephalic (without a brain) and lacks some internal organs, and as such is unable to survive on its own. The parasitic twin sometimes grows large enough to kill its host twin, in which case both twins die. Sometimes, however, the host twin survives and is delivered.

After the procedure to remove his parasitic twin, the weight of the patient in question dropped from 144 pounds to about 84. Not the most pleasant way to shed a few pounds, I imagine.

May 3, 2007 - 8:16am
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