Jump to content
Science Forums

Is My Biology Tutor Wrong?


LisaL
 Share

Recommended Posts

She said human cells / metabolism cannot get hotter than 100 degrees C but I read about a boy (baby Rahul) who keeps catching fire due to his over active metabolism. Wasn't hard to miss considering this made headlines all over the world.

Edited by LisaL
Link to comment
Share on other sites

No evidence of spontaneous combustion was found in his case.  It's more likely that he was burned in the normal way.  The only news sources that reported that he spontaneously combusted were low-quality sources that repeated the parents' story uncritically and without investigation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

[is My Biology Tutor Wrong?] She said human cells / metabolism cannot get hotter than 100 degrees C

I guess you tutor reasoned that, because most cells, human or otherwise, are damaged so badly when the water in them approaches boiling temperature that they lose the ability to metabolize, we can safely say no organism’s metabolism can’t heat cells to 100 C. I think she’s correct.

 

Most metabolic processes fail at much lower temperatures than this, so 100 C should be considered an upper limit. Human, for example, are seriously injured when their body temperature, measured in a usually way, such as orally, reaches about 55 C, and almost certainly die if it even briefly reaches 75 C.

 

Some microorganism – thermophiles - can survive temperatures as great as 122 C. They don’t generate this heat metabolically, however, but rather thrive the water heated by hot springs or undersea hydrothermal vents.

 

... but I read about a boy (baby Rahul) who keeps catching fire due to his over active metabolism. Wasn't hard to miss considering this made headlines all over the world.

I think you’re talking about the claims made by Rajeshwari Karnan that first one, then another, of her two infant children, caught fire, which we’ve discussed in the thread What Would Happen If The Sweat Gland Cells Produced A Large Amount Of Reactive Chemicals?

 

I believe the consensus of the medical, social service, and law enforcement people involved in Karnan’s case is that she is scalding or burning her children to get money and attention. To the best of my knowledge, her children have not had any injuries since they were taken away from her, or been injured when they were not alone with her.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I love the explanation CraigD has given. But that stuff is just weird though

People abusing their children often seems weird - it's one reason that some people will go to great lengths to try to not have to imagine a mother burning her own children.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 months later...
  • 1 month later...

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...