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Spontaneous Human Combustion ,myth or reality ???

Rahul has been virtually in flames four times since he was born two-and-a-half months ago. Doctors suspected  it's due to a rare condition called spontaneous human combustion (SHC).

Afflicted with the disorder, seen only in 200 people across the world in the past 300 years, the child undergone treatment at Kilpauk Medical College (KMC) Hospital, Chennai, India.

Rahul was nine days old when he first "caught fire" in the presence of his mother Rajeshwari who watched in disbelief as there was no source of fire in the vicinity. She took him to the Villupuram Medical College from where the baby was discharged three days later. After coming home, he suffered burns again. "Doctors say he is a healthy child and his organs are fine. The last time he caught fire was a fortnight ago, and this time it was head to toe," said Rajeshwari

J. Jagan Mohan, head of plastic surgery, who examined the baby, said there was very remote possibility of self-ignition.

“The injuries have healed and the scars are from an older accident that may have occurred less than three weeks ago. We need to explore the possibility of child abuse,” he said.

“How the child sustained burns is still not known. But the injury is due to contact with a hot object or scalding material. As burn injuries do not cause breakage of bones or the rupture of internal organs, the possibility of child abuse is still not ruled out.”

Since the baby does not have any injuries on his back, it is possible the child was hurt when he came in contact with a hot object, he said.

Ordinarily, a child of his age should weigh six kg but Rahul was just 4.5 kg, said doctors. R. Narayana Babu, head of paediatrics intensive care unit where Rahul is being treated, said the baby was being provided supplementary feed for nourishment besides being breastfed.

However all investigation results are  completely normal

Results of a skin biopsy and a test to check for errors in metabolism as well as for genetic karyotyping (to study the composition of cells)  were all normal.

At the time of discharge Hospital dean P. Ramakrishnan said, “We came to know that there is no evidence of spontaneous burns in the child. He has recovered completely.” The parents and Rahul’s maternal grandmother K. Tulasi, were given psychiatric counselling. “A clinical evaluation of the three family members does not reveal any significant psychiatric illness. The possibility of child abuse has to be investigated by the appropriate authority, especially police and child welfare agency,” said Dr. Ramakrishnan

Watch the Video

What is Spontaneous human combustion

Spontaneous human combustion (SHC) describes reported cases of the burning of a living (or very recently deceased) human body without an apparent external source of ignition. As of 1995, proponents claim that there have been about 200 cited cases worldwide over a period of around 300 years.
There are many hypotheses that attempt to explain human spontaneous combustion. 

Natural explanations include those:

1) Based on intestinal conversion of food into methane by methanogens which, when released through the pores of the skin, can catch fire when triggered by various sources (e.g., silk cloth generating static electricity).
2) Based on unknown or otherwise unobserved phenomena (e.g., that the production of abnormally concentrated gas or raised levels of blood alcohol might cause spontaneous ignition)

3) Relating to health and lifestyle factors (e.g. smoking, not consuming adequate levels of water, etc.)

4) That involve an external source of ignition (e.g., the victim was drunk and dropped a cigarette)

Read More at Wikipedia 

Read more studies and cases at google scholar



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