Aug 7, 2009

the grossest cure

Remember Olestra, also known as Olean? You know, back when the way to shave off pounds wasn't through a fad geographically- or masochistically-based diet, but through a quick and easy food additive-based diet? (Splenda's still trying, bless its calorie-reduced heart.)

Turns out the fat substitute may actually have a use--as part of a medical treatment for dioxin poisoning. In fact, if may have played a minor role in saving former Ukrainian president Victor Yushchenko's life. Yushchenko, as you may recall, was poisoned in an assassination attempt. NewScientist reports that skin growths called hamartomas were a critical part of the cure.
It now turns out that the lumps that grew on his face and body as a result probably saved his life by isolating the dioxin away from his vital, internal organs. They also helped to detoxify the poison, known chemically as TCDD (2,3,7,8-tetrachlrodibenzo-p-dioxin), by producing powerful enzymes called cytochrome p450s that are normally confined to the liver.
Read the whole fascinating thing.

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