Extreme Constipation and Other Cautionary Tales for Foodies from the World of Medicine

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Extreme eating has become one of the leitmotifs of our age. One manifestation is marathon events such as the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest, whereby contestants knock back dozens of franks in a single sitting. Other extreme eaters seek out super-spicy food, high-cholesterol organ meats, or even insects in order to push the eating envelope. But can these extreme eating habits have unexpected medical consequences?

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A chest contains over 200 examples of things people have choked on, and 80% of them are bone fragments from food. Click on the image to enlarge.

Philadelphia's Mutter Museum, a Victorian-era "cabinet of medical curiosities," offers several cautionary tales for extreme eaters, and even some for normal eaters.

A chest of drawers contains objects diners have choked on. Some had to be surgically removed, and a fraction of the patients died. Apparently, 80% of the objects are bone fragments that diners inadvertently swallowed. Many of the patients were trying to eat while walking and not paying much attention to what they were eating.

Next: A mummified and enlarged intestine--not for the squeamish!

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