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37. Tetrodotoxin the Zombie Powder

37. Tetrodotoxin the Zombie Powder

For our purposes, Tetrodotoxin is a sodium channel blocker and one of the ingredients in the “Zombie Powder” used to create Haitian Zombies. It is a powerful pain killer found in several animals (including the pufferfish). When administered in carefully monitored doses, it can slow the metabolic rate to a crawl and cause its victim to pass into what appears to be a coma. Unfortunately for the victim, they are fully conscious during this entire ordeal.

This is the kind of coma that Bokor induce in their victims in order to snatch them away to be further drugged and used as cheap labor.

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say,

Tetrodotoxin (anhydrotetrodotoxin 4-epitetrodotoxin, tetrodonic acid, TTX) is a potent neurotoxin with no known antidote. Tetrodotoxin blocks action potentials in nerves by binding to the pores of the voltage-gated, fast sodium channels in nerve cell membranes. The binding site of this toxin is located at the pore opening of the voltage-gated Na+ channel. Its name derives from Tetraodontiformes, the name of the order that includes the pufferfish, porcupinefish, ocean sunfish or mola, and triggerfish, several species of which carry the toxin. Although tetrodotoxin was discovered in these fish and found in several other animals (e.g., Blue-ringed Octopus, Rough-skinned newt, and Naticidae) it is actually the product of certain bacteria such as Pseudoalteromonas tetraodonis, certain species of Pseudomonas and Vibrio, as well as some others.

Just as a note, Fugu (pufferfish) is a Japanese delicacy. As you can imagine, if prepared incorrectly the tetrodotoxin in the fish’s skin can lead to serious illness and death. As a result, in order to prepare Fugu you have to be specially trained and licensed.

Here’s the second and third part of the film from last segment. Relevant? Vaguely. It was either this or a nature documentary on the pufferfish.

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