Monday, June 18, 2007

Save Money on Health Insurance

What I just read in the newspaper, I thought it might amuse you.

Mumbai, India, June 17th 2007: Pradeep Hode, a 30 year-old from Diva in Thane, chronic patient of tuberculosis had to undergo an emergency surgery on Friday morning during which 117 coins where removed from his stomach. Based on hearsay and some bizarre logic of his own, the man started swallowing coins, hoping that the heavy metal would cure him.

(From the Times of India, In search of cure, tuberculosis patient swallows 117 coins.)

This must be a black day for those who think money cures everything...


  1. It was not a devotee of capitalism. It was a devotee of an old Indian tradition. Even when our Indian friends bring us various cookies, they are always decorated by heavy metals. They just eat it. And so did we. I never felt quite OK when we ate it, respecting their traditions.

  2. Indian sweets are traditionally decorated with a very thin layer of beaten silver. Nothing dangerous about that. The problem of course is if someone has adulterated the metal, say, with lead.

    There are also traditional medicinal uses.

    "According to a feature article in the magazine 'Business India', an astounding 275 tons of silver are beaten annually into foil for sweets and Ayurvedic medicines like Chyavanprash! "

  3. Varakh silver foil is health hazard. Of course I trust you that silver foil in general can't be an urgent hazard. The existence of 1 bn Indians proves it's not. ;-)

  4. I think Pradeep got confused. The heavy metal either referred to (a) music (in which case he'd have an earache, prefereable to surgery) or (b) the magazine, as Bee suggested.

    Poor guy!


  5. Well, many of you eat sausage.

    The real thing about varakh is that many many Indians either are vegetarian, or even if not, eschew beef. So varakh made with ox gut (or various cheeses made with natural renin) pose a problem to such.

    Fortunately, there is vegetarian varakh.

  6. just in case: the remark about capitalism was meant to be a joke. yeah, indeed, we've often used the silvery sweets for decoration of Christmas cookies. As most stuff that doesn't dissolve in water it's essentially harmless - that is, as long as it doesn't come in big clumps. I mean, I'd think if you can't chew it, don't swallow it. Either way, I found this story as sad as absurd. It reminded me of my last stay in Africa, where the rumor had spread that sex with virgins cures AIDS. The result was that several small children got raped by adults. That's what misinformation can lead to if people are desperate enough to just try everything



  7. Silver is not that harmless when incorporated in large quantities:

    Sehen uns dann Mittwoch,


  8. The sugar in the sweets is far more dangerous than the silver!

  9. I'd say it's all a matter of dosage. Even common salt is poisonous if consumed in excess.

  10. Hmm, the article about Argyria is really weird. I guess it's mostly a 'cosmetic problem' because silver is a noble metal. I wonder what border security would think if you tell them their detector beeps because your skin is full with silver? Best, B.

    PS: Reminds me of that Lotto-advertisement (in case somebody recalls it) with the elderly lady at the security check point (WOHL IM LODDO GEWONNE?)

  11. Sedentary South Asians supposedly have a higher risk for diabetes (than, say, sedentary Europeans). That's why sugar is dangerous.

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  13. sure, life is dangerous. It seems in all cases it is lethal. Not sure though what is more dangerous, sugar of fat? Also, the diabetes risk might be correlated with a genetic predisposition?

  14. Colloidal Silver is a holistic medicine, but they do warn of overuse.

  15. Bee,

    Yes, there is a genetic factor involved in South Asians' risk for diabetes. Basically, if you shock your body with high sugar levels often enough, your pancreas keep trying to boost insulin. Eventually (and here I'm a bit fuzzy) the body develops an insulin resistance and/or the pancreas gives up. Obesity is correlated to this. This can happen to anyone, but there is a genetic predisposition that can make it more likely.

    In the older lifestyle, when Indians were more physically active, having to walk, bicycle to get around, this genetic predisposition didn't matter.


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