|The following is reprinted from Uncle John's Unsinkable Bathroom Reader Botulinum neurotoxin serotype A (Botox) - Lacy, D.B., Tepp, W., Cohen, A.C., DasGupta, B.R., Stevens, R.C. (1998) Crystal structure of botulinum neurotoxin type A and implications for toxicity. Nat.Struct.Biol. 5: 898-902 - via Wikipedia You have probably heard of Botox - but did you know that it is actually a toxin that's so deadly that one pound of it is enough to kill all humans on Earth? Did you know that botulism got its name from ... sausage poisoning? Here's a few facts about the toxin that has the power to kill you and to eliminate your wrinkles ... 1. Botulism is a rare and serious disease caused by the toxin botulin, which is produced by a bacterium called Clostridium botulinum. The Center for Disease Control says that about 145 cases are reported in the United States each year, although modern medicine makes deaths rare. 2. Symptoms of botulinum poisoning can begin between six hours and two weeks after eating. They include: double vision, blurred vision, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, dry mouth, and muscle weakness that starts in the upper body, descends down the arms, down the torso, and then down the legs. Breathing muscles can become paralyzed, and death can occur if emergency medical treatment is not given. 3. C. botulinum occurs naturally in soils around the world. Its main activity is the consumption of dead organic material - and the toxin is its "poop." The bacteria and their waste can also contaminate plants, and from there, or from the soil itself, can contaminate birds, fish, and mammals. 4. Bacteria are single-celled organisms and some of the most primitive life forms on Earth. C. botulinum has probably been making animals and humans sick for as long as it has existed - and by doing so, it has helped shape their eating habits. 5. In times of stress (such as a very cold or very hot weather that cause food shortages), C. botulinum, like other bacteria species, can produce an endospore - a protective structure in which it can survive in a dormant state until conditions improve. How long can it stay in that state? Microbiologists have found dormant bacterial spores that were hundreds of millions of years old. These ancient spores were able to "wake up" and start eating again. 6. Botulism timeline:
|The article above is reprinted with permission from Uncle John's Unsinkable Bathroom Reader. The Bathroom Readers' Institute has sailed the seas of science, history, pop culture, humor, and more to bring you Uncle John's Unsinkable Bathroom Reader. Our all-new 21st edition is overflowing with over 500 pages of material that is sure to keep you fully absorbed. Since 1988, the Bathroom Reader Institute has published a series of popular books containing irresistible bits of trivia and obscure yet fascinating facts. Check out their website here: Bathroom Reader Institute.|
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