Sunday, 29 August 2010

Why does Quran forbid pork?

Pork is haram

Toxicity
THE pig or swine is a very popular food item with most Christians. Yet Christians are unaware that the God they profess to believe in had condemned the eating of swine's flesh. The condemnation was based on some very sound biological principles. Here are some facts on pork that prove it to be a very unhealthy food to eat:

A pig is a real garbage gut. It will eat anything including urine, excrement, dirt, decaying animal flesh, maggots, or decaying vegetables. They will even eat the cancerous growths off other pigs or animals.

The meat and fat of a pig absorbs toxins like a sponge. Their meat can be 30 times more toxic than beef or venison.

When eating beef or venison, it takes 8 to 9 hours to digest the meat so what little toxins are in the meat are slowly put into our system and can be filtered by the liver. But when pork is eaten, it takes only 4 hours to digest the meat. We thus get a much higher level of toxins within a shorter time. - YouTube video - Why Does Quran Forbid Pork?

Tapeworms
Tapeworms are very long worms, like a measuring tape - they can be about a metre long. They are flat worms with a distinctive head at one end. The head end bears suckers and a crown of hooks to enable it to bind strongly. The head region is called the scolex. Each tapeworm is specific for its host. The type of tapeworm that infects pigs is Taenia solium (T. solium). In layman's term, it is called pork tapeworm. T. solium is a member of Phylum Platyhelminthes, class Cestoda, Order Cyclophyllidea and family Taeniidae.

Tapeworm head showing 2 suckers (one is marked 's') and a crown of hooks (from http://2.bp.blogspot.com/)
Distinctive tapeworm head or scolex showing suckers and hooks (from http://1.bp.blogspot.com/)
Scolex (head) of Taenia solium from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cysticercosis

Life cycle
The pork tapeworm lives in two different hosts - humans and pigs. The life cycle involves humans as a definite host and pigs as an intermediate host.

(1) Eggs or gravid proglottids are passed in feces and into the environment.

(2) Embryonated eggs and/or gravid proglottids are ingested by pigs from infected dirty surroundings and carcass.

(3) Oncospheres hatch and penetrate intestinal wall, and circulate to muscles. Oncospheres develop into cysticerci in pig muscle.

(4) Humans are infected by ingesting raw or undercooked infected pig meat (pork).

(5) Tapeworm attaches to human intestine via scolex.

(6) Humans excretes adult tapeworms, tapeworm eggs or tapeworm segments in feces. These enter the environment.
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(7) Embryonated eggs are ingested by human host.

(8) Oncospheres hatch, penetrate intestinal wall, and circulate to muscle in the human body.

(9) Cysticerci may develop in any organ, being more common in subcutaneous tissues as well as in the brain and eyes  of humans.


Life cycle of pork tapeworm, Taenia solium. From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cysticercosis

Cysticercosis
The human brain worm disease cysticercosis involves stages (8) and (9) of the life cycle.

Consumption of infected pork
Infected pork has a different appearance - the pork has a measle-like texture (daging babi bergerutu, rasa kasar). Human becomes infected when they ingest raw or undercooked “measly pork” that contains viable cysticercus.

What happens inside humans who consume infected pork - the tapeworm grows and lays eggs
Upon reaching the small intestine, the scolex attaches to the intestinal wall and a proglottid chain grows.  This means the tapeworm grows longer by adding more segments (proglottids). Each segment contains thousand of tapeworm eggs.

Excretion of tapeworm eggs
T. solium releases three to six proglottids/day, bearing 30,000 to 70,000 eggs (ova) per proglottid into the intestine. Nearly 250,000 ova are passed daily into the human feces and to the environment, and the cycle continues. Infected humans also excrete intact live tapeworms which can be pulled out from the anus, especially in children.

How infection can occur
Infections with cysticercus occur after humans consume the ova from exogenous sources or through self-infection via the fecal-oral route (makan najis mengandungi telur cacing atau bahagian badan cacing yang sarat dengan telur cacing pada tangan yang kotor atau tidak dibasuh dengan sempurna). 

How tapeworms appear in human brains and eyes
Ova are digested in the stomach and release oncospheres which penetrate the intestinal wall and reach the bloodstream. These oncospheres develop into cysticerci in any organ but are common in brain, subcutaneous tissue, or eyes. Oncosphere can bury in the sclerae of the eye (bahagian putih mata) and can be observed as a raised portion of the sclerae.

Infective Agent
The cause of human cysticercosis is the larval form of Taenia solium (pork tapeworm). The common larval stage of T. solium was also known as Cysticercus cellulosae. The larval form of pork tapeworm maybe coughed and swallowed several times by an infected person. The larval form is invasive as it can cross the blood-brain barrier and lodge in the brain where it can remain dormant in the cyst form (cysticerci), and therefore survive for a long time inside the brain.

Causes of Human Brain Worm Disease
Tapeworm can lodge in the human brain and cause brain worm disease. More than 50 million people throughout the world suffer from brain worm disease, or neurocysticercosis. Parasitic worms in the human brain cause a range of health problems, from mild headache to seizures and death. According to medical experts, brain worm in America is a growing health concern.

Undercooked meats and improper hand washing are primary causes of neurocysticercosis. Pork and freshwater fish should be thoroughly cooked. Beef cooked to a temperature of 135°F (57° C) for five minutes, or frozen to 14°F (-10° C) overnight, will be safe to eat. Smoking or drying meat or fish will not kill tapeworm.

History
The earliest reference to tapeworms were found in the works of ancient Egyptians that date back to almost 2000 BC. The description of measled pork in the History of Animals written by Aristotle (384–322 BC) showed that the infection of pork with tapeworm was known to ancient Greeks at that time. It was also known to early Muslim physicians and was one of the reasons for pork being forbidden by Islamic dietary laws.

Recent examination of evolutionary histories of hosts and parasites and DNA evidence show that over 10,000 years ago, ancestors of modern humans in Africa became exposed to tapeworm when they scavenged for food or preyed on antelopes and bovids, and later passed the infection on to domestic animals such as pigs.

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