Some of us will carefully check the labels on most of the products we use, scrutinizing them to see if we can find some suspicious ingredients listed. The rest of us do not care and just use these products anyway. But how would you feel if you discovered that your food or body lotion contained human body parts?
Here are some products made from human body parts you didn’t know about:
A few centuries ago, many Europeans turned into unwitting cannibals after consuming medicines made with the bones, blood, and fats of living and dead people. People of the day believed that these medicines cured a wide range of ailments.
Skulls were ground into powder to make medicine for almost every problem with the head. Usnea, a moss that often appeared on buried human skulls, was used to stop nosebleeds and cure epilepsy.
Body fat was applied to the skin to cure medical problems like gout. Bandages were also soaked in fat before they were used to cover wounds. The act of using human body parts as medicine reached its height between the 16th and 17th centuries and started to die down in the 18th century. It had disappeared by the 20th century.
Within the last few years, several businesses have sprung up, offering to turn the cremated remains of our dead relatives and animals into diamonds—or as they prefer to call them, “memorial diamonds.”
The process works because diamond is made of carbon, which is the second-most plentiful element in our bodies.
The process begins with the cremation. The human body produces several pounds of ashes after cremation. However, this is often filled with impurities, which are removed when the ash is cleaned with acid.
Scientists at Pennsylvania State University are already working on converting poop and urine to food. This diet is not intended for regular people but for astronauts, especially those who will travel on long-term space voyages to, say, Mars.
The scientists made the food by anaerobic digestion, a process in which microbes break down waste without using oxygen. In this instance, a first group of microbes is added to poop and urine to produce methane. That methane is then fed to a second group of microbes.
The result is a consumable substance that contains 52 percent protein and 36 percent fats. The diet is free of diseases because the microbes work so quickly that dangerous pathogens do not have time to form.
Some Chinese people believe that eggs boiled in the urine of young boys have medicinal properties. The eggs are called tong zi dan (“virgin boy eggs”). They are a thing in Dongyang in Zhejiang Province, China, where they are sold on the roadside. Consumers claim that the eggs cure or prevent a myriad of ailments.
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Growing up at Kakuma Refugee Camp, situated in one of the poorest regions in Kenya, couldn’t possibly have been a walk in the park for Maryan Noor Yussuf.The 19-year-old first year student at St. Paul’s University, who now owns a tour and travel company, is quite practically the embodiment of – to use the words of American rapper Drake – ‘started from the bottom now we’re here.’
But how did she defy all the odds stacked against her? And how has the journey been thus far?
This is the bitter-to-better story of Maryan Noor Yussuf who recently spoke to Citizen Digital about some of the lessons she has drawn from her hard knock life.
Maryan remembers 2009 as one of the most miserable periods of her life; it is the year she lost her father who, to this day, they have never had the chance to bury.
“I remember that fateful day, he gave my mother some money for food and left, promising to be back. Later on, during the day, we were told that he had been involved in a grisly accident and have never seen his body since then… we never buried my father,” she narrates.
In the subsequent years following the untimely passing of her father, who was the family bread-winner, life got tough for Maryan and her remaining family members – mother and three siblings – and they were forced to move out of their flat in Umoja to Kakuma Refugee Camp in pursuit of relief food and shelter.
The ordeal there was never better as she later contracted meningitis; an inflammation of the membranes that surrounds the brain and spinal cord.
“Life in Kakuma was very terrible. I was in Class Three at the time and we were given meal cards every month, and the UN would give us cooking oil, few kilograms of maize and rice. The area also had scorpions and snakes which were poisonous,” Maryan says.
The weather did did not spare them either as it would rain and flood occasionally, thereby washing away their manyattas and forcing them to share sleeping places with other people in similar or worse situations as them.
According to Maryan, when life became tougher in Kakuma, her mother scoured around for some little money which they used as transport fare and moved to Eastleigh, Nairobi.
“We started living with people in Eastleigh. My mother used to wash utensils and brought us leftovers,” she says.
The family later shifted back to where it all began in Umoja where a certain Mr. Macharia, the owner of Green Angels Academy, sponsored the primary school education of Maryan and her siblings.
In 2013, while in Class 7, Maryan finished writing her first book titled ‘I will be back’ based on the last words her father spoke to them before he left home on the day he met his demise.
“It has been ten years since I last saw him. I don’t know if he is dead or alive because we never buried him. That is why I wrote this book and I hope one day he will come back to us,” adds an emotional Maryan.
The book was however not published at the time because a publishing house rejected it saying she was “young and incompetent.”
“When I first wrote the book, I took it to a publishing house but they rejected it and said I was young and incompetent. I was very heartbroken and depressed. At that time, there had been a terror attack at Westgate Mall and being a Muslim girl wearing a hijab, I faced the discrimination that comes with stereotypes,” she states.
She took the manuscript to another publisher and it was not until 2017, when she was in Form Three at Almaktoum Girls High School in Kajiado that the book was finally published.
Maryan became an instant sensation and took on the shoes of a motivational speaker since neighboring schools would often call on her to give talks and inspire other students.
She adds that she almost lost her life last year due to hiatal hernia; a disease which occurs when the upper part of your stomach bulges through the large muscle separating your abdomen and diaphragm.
She was admitted at St. Marys Hospital in Lang’ata where an endoscopy was conducted.
Although the disease has been recurrent ever since, Maryan says this motivated her even more and she wrote another book; Nobody Knows My Pain.
After her final secondary education examinations in 2018, Maryan was early this year employed by a tour and travel company where she worked for three months before resigning due to health issues.
In April, using the experience she got from her former employer, Maryan started her own tour and travel company known as Black Beasts Safaris in order to get a source of income for her health medication and university education.
Maryan’s passion is to become a journalist, and has largely been motivated by the industry’s creme-de-la-creme including Citizen TV trio Jamila Mohamed, Jeff Koinange and Hussein Mohammed.
She is also particularly drawn to the works of Swahili guru Wallah Bin Wallah as well as Kinyanjui Kombani, who is fondly referred to as ‘the banker who writes.’
Maryan expresses great appreciation and admiration for her mother whom she says has been incredibly monumental to her life.
“Don’t give up. It doesn’t matter how old or young you are, make sure you go for whatever you want. Work for it and and make sure you achieve,” she says as as her parting shot.
The Bukusu, the largest tribe of the Luhya nation and like many other tribes in Africa, believe in life after death.
According to their elders and the custodians of their tradition, this group believes that when a kinsman dies, it is their body that dies but not the soul and mind.
While the dead are valued and honoured across many cultures, the Bukusu really value the head of the deceased.
This is evident in that whenever the pallbearers are lifting the coffin of their dead kinsman, the head of the dead must be lifted facing the front, to symbolize him leaving the household.
After the body is outside, the pallbearers change position to have the legs of the dead face forward, to symbolize that the deceased is being aided to walk to his grave which will be his permanent home.
Notably, the Bukusu have their graves dug in front of houses and ensure that the head of the deceased is placed facing away from the house.
This they say is to enable the dead guard the compound and houses of the family members left behind.
Further, the Bukusu believe that a dead person without a head is like a person who died after being struck by lightning. Such a body is never taken into the house.
They believe that the human in him is still out there in the wilderness and since they do not understand under what circumstances it could be in, it is therefore of no value.
The Bukusu also believe that a dead kinsman keeps guard on those that are still living and has powers to avert bad things from happening.
This is the reason why in their conversations, lamentations or incarnations the say: “nandi okhwimileyo, omwana yuno wamenyakakho,” (You could intercede for us to allow this child to live) as they petition the deceased or ancestors especially when a child dies not long after the death of eitheir parent.
They also believe that head should never face the house because this then will force the deceased to return to the house to haunt the living family members.
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Terry Bauer, CEO of Specialdocs in Chicago, IL.
By Terry Bauer, CEO, Specialdocs Consultants
As a practicing physician, you have no shortage of conferences vying for your attention each year, often in vacation destinations, with the chance to earn CMEs or hear from high-profile motivational speakers. None, however, offer as much potential to profoundly impact the trajectory of your career as can be found at the Concierge Medicine Forum in Atlanta, GA, October 24-26th.
Whether you’ve long considered a change to the personalized care model or are just starting to appreciate its power to deal with our dysfunctional health system, you’ll find answers and solutions from those at the front lines.
Reflecting the rise of concierge medicine itself, the Concierge Medicine Forum has grown significantly, and meaningfully, each year over the past several years. It’s a testament to the real passion of conference founders Catherine Sykes and Michael Tetreault, who also established the industry’s long-trusted source of information online at Concierge Medicine Today.
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From its inception as a trade conference providing networking opportunities for concierge physicians and industry providers, it has evolved into much more. Now a two-day ‘think tank’ of interactive workshops, presentations and theme-specific breakout sessions, the focus is on addressing current trends impacting healthcare and uncover emerging ones particularly relevant to personalized medicine. And, as attendance has expanded to include more than 200 attendees, a multitude of ways is offered to connect with each other.
Some of today’s most cutting-edge concepts will be spotlighted for concierge physicians to consider incorporating into their practices, from pharmacogenomics testing to a lifestyle medicine approach to care.
I’m particularly excited that one of our Special Docs, concierge integrative medicine physician and client Dr. Uday Jani, will be leading a presentation on his effective, alternative approach to managing pain without the need for opioids. As he explains, while reaching for a pill is often the only option available at traditional practices that typically allow less than 15 minutes per patient visit, the scenario at a concierge practice is completely transformed.
At Dr. Jani’s practice, and all others in the Specialdocs network, patient visits are highly personalized, collaborative and unrushed. Most of our physician-clients schedule at least 30 minutes for a regular appointment and a full 90 minutes for an annual wellness exam. There’s no other type of medical model that allows physicians the time needed to work with patients on remedies uniquely suited to their values and lifestyle.
I’m also privileged to participate in an important pre-conference workshop, “A Beginners Guide to Subscription-Based Healthcare Delivery Models.” Sharing experiences from Specialdocs’ pioneering, 17-year history of successful, sustainable practice transitions, I’ll be discussing insights on the characteristics needed to become an extraordinary concierge physician in an era of unprecedented patient expectations.
Specialdocs presents a new video series featuring physicians who candidly discuss the challenges of practicing in the traditional way, and how concierge medicine provides a solution to the work-life balance issue at the root of physician burnout and career dissatisfaction. In a series of impactful vignettes, the physicians share their journeys from ‘tipping point’ through transition to concierge medicine, and the transformation of their professional and personal journeys.
Additionally, on the first full day of the conference, I’ll be presenting a forward-looking perspective centered on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its potential impact on concierge medicine.
The agenda is packed with other topics of great value to physicians seeking information on the latest advances that may further enhance their uniquely personalized offerings. Among them are a new, systems biology approach to preventive care combining advanced non-invasive imaging, chemistry, genetics, vitals and medical history to build a comprehensive snapshot of an individual’s health over time; breakthroughs in genomic testing and precision treatment which are being used to offer cancer patients as many options as possible; a potentially disruptive carotid stenotic scan; and a whole genome sequencing-based test for diagnosis of rare inherited disorders.
The Concierge Medicine Forum is unquestionably committed to exploring, and helping to shape, the future of medicine, but the ultimate goal is to help attendees re-imagine their personal future as a physician. If you’re still considering the benefits of making a change to the concierge model, there’s nothing more powerful than the chance to hear firsthand from physicians who have made this transition and reached the other side, restored and rejuvenated…and to start a conversation with experts who can assist you in paving your road to success.
Register here for this outstanding conference. Then come find us at the Specialdocs booth or look for me or members of our leadership team throughout the event. We’re prepared to talk, but more importantly, ready to listen your story and your vision. It could be a very meaningful conversation about your future.
Terry Bauer is the CEO of Specialdocs Consultants. Terry’s vision of concierge medicine as an innovative and sustainable model for healthcare’s future began in 1999 when he first learned of the business from industry pioneers, and his interest in the sector continued to grow over the years.