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I'm Jennifer Palmieri, host of a new podcast from the recount on just something about her. After working on five presidential campaigns, I thought women could achieve the same success as men if they played by the rules. Then 2016 happened in my podcast. Just something about her. I'll talk with women, CEOs, athletes, politicians and more. So together we can create our own girls. Listen to just something about her I heart radio app, Apple podcast, or wherever you get your podcasts.


Hi, this is Melanne Verveer and this is Kim Mazzarelli and we're co-hosts of Senecas Conversations on Power and Purpose, brought to you by the Seneca Women Podcast Network and I Heart Radio. We're launching a brand new season of this podcast, which brings you fascinating conversations with leaders like two time gold medalist, author and activist Abby Wambach and actor, producer and entrepreneur Justin Baldoni, among many others. Listen to Senecas conversations on power and purpose on the radio app Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.


Everybody, it's Josh and Chuck, your friends, and we are here to tell you about our upcoming book that's coming out this fall, the first ever stuff you should know book, Chuck. That's right. What's the cool, super cool title we came up with? It's stuff you should know. Colen an incomplete compendium of mostly interesting things. That's right. And it's coming along so great. We're super excited, you guys. The illustrations are amazing.


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Welcome to Stuff You Should Know. A production of By Heart Radio's HowStuffWorks. Hey, and welcome to the podcast, I'm Josh Clark. There's Charles W. Chuck, Chuck, Jane Bryant. And this is stuff you should know, the super gross, but I love it, Ed.. Uh, big time trigger warning for people. This is about tapeworms.


It is disgusting and super creepy and gross. And I knew that you would love it.


So great. So great. It's just so gravity. We're going all the way, baby. The word anus comes up at least once.


Not in a good way.


Oh man. Period is he was a good guy. He wouldn't have ever had. Oh he was was he, was he the one who who made himself everybody's Secret Santa every year.


That's right. And old Perry, unless you count on him and he would you would sign his name Perry Anus parentheses.




Well if you don't know what Perry Anus is, just buckle up. Because like you said, Chuck, it's going to be quite a ride because we are talking about tapeworms and we're not talking just about tapeworms. We're talking about the idea of taking a tapeworm, ingesting it and letting it live and grow in your body in the hopes that it will divert enough nutrients and calories away from you, that you can just eat whatever you want and lose weight at the same time because you're not getting fatter.


The tapeworm is right, but we're mainly just talking about tapeworms because. Well, I don't want to issue a spoiler. This really so seriously, we'll save that for act three.


OK, so tapeworms. Yeah.


This is from our old HowStuffWorks dotcom website, which is nice to find one of these.


It is a little hidden gem hanging out.


This is a grab store article originally just hidden in the anus, waiting for us to discover it. Right. Actually it crawled its way out and dropped at my feet. So tapeworms the very first line of this article is a tapeworm is like something out of a horror movie. Yeah. And it really is. It is this wormy little ribbon shaped creature that is a parasite in every sense of the word. Right. They can be very big. They can be as big as eight feet long and they can live in a host for up to thirty years.


Yeah, like you could get a tapeworm as a kid and that thing might be with you through every formative experience you've ever had. And you might actually be sad when it crawls out of your anus and detaches itself from you.


That sounds like a Simpsons episode or something. Kind of, yeah. Maybe a little more like Cleveland Show.


The good news is if you don't live in a developing nation, then you probably don't need to worry about a tapeworm, although it can still happen to be sure. Yeah, but with good hygiene, good hand washing, good livestock practices and good just feek overall fecal and food handling practices, it's not likely to be an issue with you.


Yeah, great practice livestock. Great practice, everybody. Yeah. So if you are in the developing world, you there is a good chance that you can get a tapeworm because in some cases sanitation is not as great as you would like it to be.


And there's more poop hanging around then than there should be or that there there could be considering other modern practices.


And then even beyond that, there is a lot more living among livestock than there are in, say, like developed urban areas. Right. So even in the developed world, there, there if you go outside of the urban areas and you start running up against pigs and cows and their poop and stuff like that, you can conceivably catch a tapeworm fairly easily, especially if you're not really big into handwashing.


Sure, which you should be if you're around, poop from animals or humans or any kind of poop.


Yeah, just any time there's even any kind of coincidence of poop in your hands, even possibly just take 20 seconds, recite the alphabet and wash your hands, because if you don't, you might get some of that fecal material in your mouth and aboard that fecal material can be tapeworm eggs and that is how you get a tapeworm infection. One way in the developed world, you're much more likely to get it from something like eating undercooked meat. Right. I've never even had pinkeye.


Oh, really never. It's not a pleasant experience, Chuck. All right, Poopy. Yeah, I got some fecal material in my own eye a couple of times, I guess.


Poopy the sailor man. Yeah. Like, I was sniffing my fingers and I guess I got too close to my eye.


You got your nose confused with your eyeball, right again. Right. I had a little itch and I was like, oh no, what have I done? It was too late.


So parasites like Tapeworm. Like I said, are true parasites. Everything that it gets that it needs, it gets from its host.


Right. And that's how it lives. And it just it is, like you said, a true parasite. And that like all those things that you're supposed to be getting from the food you eat, some of it is being diverted by the to the tapeworm. And they absorb nutrients like gangbusters. They actually don't have a mouth, which is weird because it looks like they have several mouths, but they actually use those mouths to hang on to your intestines inside so that they don't get flushed out by the peristaltic action that, you know, helps move poop and stuff along your intestines.


And instead of the tapeworm, it just kind of floating there, absorbing nutrients in the matrix of your gut juices, basically. And they absorb it. They absorb it through their skin and they're just really good at it. So much so that there's at least one type of tapeworm out there that you can actually get from eating undercooked fish pich specifically. That's so good at absorbing V12. It can outcompete you, its host, and you can get a pretty bad vitamin B 12 deficiency as a result.


Do so.


These tapeworms live in all kinds of host animals like they could. You could be you or me. It could be, like you said, a fish, which is pretty surprising. Yeah. Most often you hear about beef in pigs or cow I guess is the animal and pigs. But they, you know, depending what kind of species it is, it might have a preference for a kind of host.


And I guess we should describe the body of this thing.


Oh, yeah. Right now, it's it's pretty gross. It's got a ahead, I guess you would call it or I call it the scolex.


Yeah, it's called the Scolex Scolex. It's the top of the worm. What we as humans might call ahead.


Yeah, but it looks like an old timey diving head diving helmet, you know what I mean?


It's round. It's got those suckers. So they look like kind of the portholes on the old diving helmet. And those, again, those suckers, they look like balls that the thing would eat on. But no, they use it to suck on to the sides of your intestine. But at the top of the head, there are some hooks, like a ring of hooks that actually latch on to the like, really grip on to the side of your intestinal wall.


So that that tapeworm, once it gets its hooks in its suckers into your intestinal wall, it's not going anywhere.


You know, we should bring back the term skin diver. Sure. You remember that skin diver? Yeah. Wasn't that like snorkeling?


I think snorkeling or maybe even scuba is just such an antiquated term, like nobody uses that anymore. No, I know because it makes no sense now and it's possible it never made any sense.


Like I could see someone's granddad now saying, you know, I'm going to get certified to be a skin diver.


Right. And then we're going to get me some pearls and I'll find all the kids. Laughing Grandpa. No one says skin diver, right.


Grandpa is probably saying a bunch of other stuff. Nobody says any more to, you know what I mean?


Yeah, I know what you mean. So we're bringing skin diver back. What was the last thing he said about the scolex? I said that once this thing gets its hooks and its its suckers into your intestinal wall, it's not going anywhere.


Yeah, like a good, catchy tune. Yeah, like your tapeworm.


So if it wasn't for the scolex, this article points out, you know, the scolex is the problem. If it wasn't for this thing, that your intestines would just churn it out and you'd poop it out. No problem.


But the scolex is really where the rubber meets the road as far as attaching to your body in that need to think that peristaltic action I was talking about, like that's just a bunch of like quivering muscles that move in a progressive direction towards your your rectum and anus and all of that that push like poop out through your intestines or push nutrients through where they absorbed. But then it ultimately pushes the poop out. And that's how the whole thing works. It's just like some quivering muscles in there.


And I read, Chuck, that if you take a stimulant laxative, that that's actually what it does, is it really kind of energizes and makes those muscles contract, which is good on the one hand, because it really works. But on the other hand, it's bad because your body becomes dependent on those things really quickly. So you don't want to just take those willy nilly. From what I saw, you want to try just about every other type of laxative there is, first, starting with diet high in soluble fiber, and then work your way on up to where you're talking to a doctor or a nurse practitioner or something before you're hitting those those stimulant laxatives.


Yeah, I think the word laxative, it sort of is backward because it makes it sound like it's relaxing everything right.


When in fact it's making everything work harder.


It's pretty interesting. It's all upside down and dipsy do. But I tell you what, there is a bunch of signs along the way that say one way, one way, everybody, you're going this way, whether you like it or not.




So the scolex is is, like I said, where you're you're sticking to the intestine and then below the scolex is the neck. And then the rest of it is I mean, from the neck down, it's just sort of the same thing there are all these just individual segments can be thousands of them, at least hundreds. Yeah. Called the Straubel in each segment by its own is known as a program added.


Yeah. And those are added when you look at a tapeworm and it just looks like a piece of like segmented tape, those those little segments, those kids, I did not know this at all. But they're they're they're basically reproductive organs that also contain eggs and that the ones closest to the head are male sperm, sex, and that as you get further away from the head, those odds become female and egg holding.


And that underserve under some circumstances, with some species of tapeworm, they can self fertilize and produce themselves.


Right. But more often than not, they're they're just kind of exchanging sperm and eggs with nearby neighbors who are, again, floating around in your intestines, absorbing nutrients and just sperm and aging everywhere inside your gut. Yeah. And you're just sitting there watching Jeopardy!


And it might be 80 feet long and 30 years old. You have no idea what's going on.


Like your gut may be infested with tapeworms right now. And you probably you might not know. Yeah, and that creepy, it is super creepy. All right, let's take a break. I got it. I'm going to go wash my hands again and we'll talk more about these pagla ads right after this.


All. A ravenous pandemic, a ruinous recession, protest, riots, racial strife, police brutality and yes, Donald Trump America in 2020 feels like Apocalypse Now. Again, I'm John Heilemann and in hell and high water.


I'll explore this moment in a series of raw and real conversations with the people who shape our culture. Hell and High Water is a podcast from the recount.


Listen to Hell and High Water on the I Heart radio app, Apple podcast or wherever you get your podcasts. Hi, this is Melanne Verveer and this is Kim Mazzarelli and we're co-hosts of Senecas Conversations on Power and Purpose, brought to you by the Seneca Women Podcast Network and I Heart Radio.


We're launching a brand new season of this podcast, which brings you fascinating conversations with leaders like two time gold medalist, author and activist Abby Wambach and actor, producer and entrepreneur Justin Baldoni, among many others. Listen to Senecas conversations on power and purpose on the I Heart radio app, Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.


Well, now you're on the road driving in your truck. Why not learn a thing or two from Josh Amchok? It's stuff you should know. All right.


OK, Chuck. So you promised more pragmatic talk. Lay it on us. Yeah.


So these poor glided can like the tapeworm is hardy, but it can also break apart.


It'll still be alive, like, make no mistake, like a chameleon's tail. It's no big whoop if some of these piglets break off and they'll just come out of your poop. And you might look at your stool and see these things and say, like, wow, I have a tapeworm, thank goodness I got rid of it, but don't be fooled. There might be a lot of tapeworm still back up in your body.


Yeah, because remember, up toward the neck is sperm down lower. Along the body is eggs. And then the lower you get our fertilized eggs. So when those bodies break off toward the end and make their way out in your poop, they are they're fully fertilized egg sacs and that's how they enter the environment. It's all part of the lifecycle. The body's breaking off and making its way out of your anus. By the way, bodies are spectacular in that not only are they segments filled with fertilized egg sex, by the time they break off and leave you, they also contain muscles, meaning that they can walk on their own.


So these little segments of tapeworm filled with fertilized tapeworm eggs can move and crawl their way out of your butt.


So much so that there's something called discharge of the clouds, which is triggered when.


Right when the Yes album totally was going to say, that is so progressive, it's crazy. But when they start marching their way out of your butt, you have a there's a crawling sensation. Yeah. Perry anus. And that this is one reason why dogs with tapeworms but scooch. Yes. And also why you might but screech to because you are trying to erase the the very anus from your body to get rid of this crawling sensation for sure.


But even if they don't crawl right out of your bottom, they, they can still make their way out and your poop and then they crawl away from the poop because if they crawl away from the poop and say like a pasture right where some human is just pooped, there might be a cow nearby that eats the grass that this paraglider has broken open and deposited the eggs into the soil. And when that cow eats those eggs, this life cycle starts all over again.


You know what we call that dog? Scooch in our house. What the boot scootin boogie.


Whenever you see the boot Scootin Boogie happen in your house. Yeah, it may not mean a tapeworm, but it's not good.


No, Lomo does it sometimes, but she does this cute thing where she does a little one eighty in one place. She doesn't go like she doesn't make a line, she stays behind and just kind of does like the twist and she eventually bores a hole in the floor and falls through to another dimension.


That's right, yeah. The boots and boogie also could be like anal glands that expressing. Right. Or just a dingleberry that needs taking care of board on a Saturday night.


But it's never something awesome.


It's never, you know, hundred dollar bills or just a dog that's like making some cool noise with their.


But you're exactly so and yeah.


So the the this life cycle thing that just kicked off again, we should follow this through one more time. OK, I don't actually I don't even know if we've gone through this, but the the thing about tapeworms and you kind of touched on it before is they infest different animals, but the same kind of tapeworm might infest different animals as part of its life cycle, right? Yeah. So like when you just pooped in the cow pasture and that precluded opened up and deposited the eggs into the soil and this cow eating grass ate that soil.


Those eggs went into that cow and they said, OK, time to turn into our larval stage. And in the cow they turn into larvae. But the larvae of tapeworms form like a cyst around them. And from what I can gather, the reason that they form the cyst is because they it prevents them from setting off an immune response, because like you were saying, you can have a tapeworm infection unless it's really bad and you're becoming really malnourished as a result.


And it's a it's an adult tapeworm in your gut. You may never know that you had one until the thing just falls out of your bottom one day like it's done or you start discharging. It's in your stool at the same thing with cows, like when they become infested with tapeworm larvae in these cysts forms, the cysts burrow their way out of the intestinal wall and then just implant themselves in the cows. Muscles don't seem to really provide any kind of discomfort or problem.


And again, they don't set off an immune response. But the reason that they deposit themselves in their muscles is because somewhere along their evolutionary history, which from what we've seen goes back at least two hundred and seventy million years, they figured out that the animals eat the muscles of other animals. And so we come along and we eat the muscles. The cows and those cysts, those larval cysts of tapeworms deposited into our guts and they mature into the adult tapeworm so that the whole life cycle begins again.


Yeah, what these are the larval stage. What they're trying to do, they're trying to get to the bloodstream.


Right. So, like, if you eat eggs or whatever, then they'll become those cystic levels and then they go into the bloodstream, right?


That's right. OK. So if you have this, if you have the tapeworm, then you have an infection known as Human Tinny's Tomana, had it even spelled it out to the masses. Is that right? I think so. That's how I was going to say it. And if you have that like like you said, it's not a big deal.


Asymptomatic, probably, and you won't even know you've got it right. But that can develop into sistas narcosis, and that is when these things get into your bloodstream. And that is not a good thing because the chain reaction that can happen from here is pretty bad. I mean, it can lead to death. It usually doesn't. But they can be anywhere in your body. They can grow and they can inflamed tissue. So if it's putting pressure, like, near your eyeball, it can cause temporary blindness or permanent blindness.


Fish near your brain, that's no good. It can cause brain damage. And in fact, in some countries, they think it's the main cause for adult onset onset seizure.


They're crazy. Yeah, yeah. I saw that. There's one guy. It's called neuro cystic fibrosis. And this one doctor says that at least five million cases of adult onset seizures worldwide are from having tapeworm cysts in your brain. So that that was the appropriate response. Chuck. So the the thing is, like when you eat a tapeworm larva, it becomes an adult tapeworm in your gut. Humans aren't our bodies aren't set up or they're not in this kind of symbiosis with tapeworm eggs to do the same thing.


So if we eat tapeworm eggs accidentally, then those become those cystic larval larva. And then that's that's what travels into our bloodstream and causes all of these problems. And there's specifically one kind of pig tapeworm that goes through its lifecycle from pig to human to pig. And under normal circumstances, if we undercooked pork and get those larva, they're going to turn into adult tapeworms. But if we undercooked pork and we accidentally eat some eggs from that pork, then that's when that sticker Kosice.


Is that right? Yes. The sticker Kosice. It can be a real problem that you will know, like you were saying, that you've got a tapeworm problem pretty pretty quick. Yeah.


If they get big, they can block your your ducks, your pancreatic ducts, your bile ducts. They can get in your organs and grow within your organs, which is something that should keep you awake at night. If they get large enough in your organs that that's going to be like those organs are not going to be good for very long. They can rupture sometimes. And this is just in the body, not necessarily in the organs. But if it ruptures in your body, then it's your your body's going to amount like an immune response.


You're going to get hives. It's going to itch. It's going to swell. And you're just going to have, like, this massive allergic reaction. You're going to be like, what bug bit me, right?


Except you won't be able to talk because your throat will have closed. Perhaps. So, Chuck, if you don't want to taper in, which hopefully by now you've realized you don't want a tapeworm again, in the in the developed world, it's not that hard to avoid a tapeworm in the United States in particular, like the meat packing industry is.


I mean, it's dirty and gross and horrific, but it's actually pretty good at spotting things like tapeworms. So there's a really low chance that you're going to get your hands on meat from an American grocery store that has tapeworm cysts in it. Right, right. Probably not going to get a tapeworm, but just to be sure, the government has very conscientious, highly recommended some minimum cooking temperatures for things like hole cuts of meat, like a chopper steak.


Right. I think it used to be 160 Fahrenheit. Now they've lowered it to something like one forty five, which is sixty three degrees Celsius. And here's the key. They say after you're done cooking it to their internal temperature, which you want a meat thermometer, do you have one of those? Sure. One of the best things I've ever bought, chuck it really up. My steak gained quite a bit, but the key to a good steak and apparently to killing tapeworms and other parasites is to letting your whole cut of meat rest for at least three minutes.


I always do. Five after you cook, before you carve it up and start eating. Do you do that?


You should do that anyway because of the flavor and the juices.


It just does something amazing. Like before I started doing that, I was just a schlub. I was a total loser. I had no idea what was going on in the world once I started to take it off the grill and put it in your mouth.


Sure. Yeah, basically. I mean, put it on a plate and like, started eating it. Right. Once I started letting meat rest, it was like a whole new world. And here's another tip, if you want a really delicious steak or I guess pork chop, you you get what either?


I mean, if you don't have one of these sort of slotted cutting boards, four to rest on use, like a baker's rack or something, because you still maintain that crisp on the outer that char, if you just let it sit in its juices, that's going to get all you know, it's going to change the texture.


Oh, like a grill pan or something like that. Use that. Yeah.


I've got this cutting board that has it's basically like a grid instead of being flat and it has a little like a grill grate that can lift up and out of it. So it's never sitting like not much of the meat is sitting on a board when it's resting.


So you don't want it to rest in its juices nor.


No, I want to keep it crispy. Oh, OK. I didn't know that I got it. I'll have to try that because I always just basically I just put it on a plate and throw like some foil loosely over it or else like a like a pan cover.


You cover it too huh. Yeah. Yeah.


I always read I was going to keep cooking. Right. Yeah. Yeah. For sure. But I mean it's not on the flame anymore so it's like just kind of. Yeah. Yeah I know. I've never tried it uncovered. Maybe I will, I'll try uncovering in a way from the juices and see what happens. You try covering it and leaving it in his juices.


I don't even use a meat thermometer so I think we have different state games. You don't. Huh. Do you like your rare medium rare. Medium rare.


But if I know the thickness and the weight and the temperature, I don't need a meat thermometer.


I stopped cooking as many steaks, so I have to kind of I had to go back to elementary school again. No, it's no shame in it. I'm not ashamed.


I had a I had a chef that I work for that. He could he just touched his he's like, you can tell the internal what the inside looks like just by touching the outside. Right.


And we should tell people there are probably people who haven't been listening that long and don't know the secret to stake that we've said before, Chuck. But you do not touch your steak. You don't cut it, you cook it. You see it on one side for a minute and a half, two minutes tops, depending on how thick it is. Flip it over, do the same thing on the other side, and then you take it off of your oven or your grill or whatever and move it into a convection.


Even if you've got one at about three hundred ninety degrees, three minutes to three and a half minutes per side for six to seven minutes total. Let rest five minutes. Thanks in the morning. And I'll do mine that way either. Like I said, we get different state games. I thought I thought you said you tried it that way before and you're like, this is amazing. I've done I do all kinds of ways, sometimes I do it in a pan.


Mm hmm. And then stick it in the broiler. These days I'm all about the grill again because I've got a grill that can get really, really hot.


Oh, yeah. Well, that's the key. You know, like you want to see her in those juices to keep you from escaping. Yeah. Which is another reason a meat thermometer is good. If you don't if you can't just use your thumb, you don't have to cut it open to look inside. You just plunge that thing in there.


And it tells you, I think all this talk of steak has made people forget that we're talking about tapeworms. Oh, yeah. Periodontist tapeworms.


So. Should we I mean, I guess we should talk a little bit about the symptoms before we come back for the final act of tapeworms as a weight loss aid. Yeah, I agree. But you might not have infection or I'm sorry, symptoms at first. You might feel a little weak. You might feel some you might have some diarrhea. You might feel dizzy or lose your appetite. You might lose a little weight. You might crave salt, which is an interesting one because I always crave salt.


Yeah, I thought that was interesting too. Or Peka in general. Like if you crave eating clay or just anything that you is a little weird is is a big sign saying Peka now.


Peka. Oh yeah. I think I've always said they that haven't. I know you always said Pytka. This is amazing. It's like starting our podcast all over again after 12 years.


It's a refresh. Yeah. Piqua, that's what I'm going with now.


All right. So you will get a you will deliver a stool sample if you go to the doctor, if you suspect you have a tapeworm, you want them to ask you for it first.


Sure. Just don't bring it in a bag unless you happen to see that your poop has worms in it and you could bring it in. But you could also just say there were those were definitely worms in my poop. Yeah. And hopefully what happens is, is that you've gone in there quickly enough to where it doesn't end up being a very big deal and you take a little anti worm medication. Right. And this thing works by basically kind of paralyzing the parasite so its muscles are permanently contracted and it doesn't.


Yeah. And, you know, we were talking about how that that had just latches on. It's not able to latch on. It just comes right on out in your poop.


I know. It goes and just falls out basically. And there are plenty of videos on the Internet that show tapeworms that have come out of people's anuses. If you want to go see that kind of thing, they can get really, really long. But that that drug, Chuck, that that you're talking about, the anti warming agent, it's the same thing that they give dogs like any animal that's going to have it. Worm is going to get the same treatment.


But they found they're pretty sure this particular one close amid this deworming agent is actually also good for things like treating cancer, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, graft versus host disease, endometriosis and a bunch of other stuff because they're like it does something that to channeling Pathways multiple tanyalee pathways. And it might be like this wonder drug that's just waiting to be unlocked. Isn't that neat? That is supernet close to me to take that break. Yeah. I mean, let's take the break.


All right, then we'll get to the big revelation relevation. No revelation. Yes. Can you use a tapeworm to lose weight right.


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Well, now you're on the road driving in your truck. Why not learn a thing or two from Josh and Josh? It's stuff you should know, all right.


No, you can't. And you shouldn't. That's right. So remember, Kelly Kapoor tried that or else she considered taking it.


I don't remember. Do you? Oh, that's right. I forgot about that.


So, I mean, this has been around for a really long time. This idea that you can take it, eat a tapeworm of some sort.


Tapeworm cyst, not eggs, because those would turn into cysts and invade your brain, that you could get a tapeworm infection and start to lose weight, possibly as long as the 19th century. They think that they're. So here's the thing.


Do you remember when we did our episode on Flea Circuses? Sure. It was really thrilling to me because even while we were podcasting, I still could not tell for a little while whether it was a real thing or just one of the most exquisitely perpetrated hoaxes ever. Right. And it was still working on us. There's kind of a similar thing where it's not entirely clear if these old timey ads are real.


People think they typically are or if they were real, if anybody actually did this or if it was some sort of farce or hoax or satire. And if it wasn't satire, how widespread was this? Because it does seem that there were 19th century ads, late 19th century or early 20th century ads for sterilized tapeworm pills that women could take. They were marketed toward women to keep their their figure trim.


Right. Of course they were marketed toward women. Right. Take a tapeworm, ladies. Exactly.


There was a singer, an opera singer named Maria Callas. Who.


And this is almost certainly urban legend, but she lost I read 80 pounds of sea in other places, 60 pounds over a few months in the mid 1950s, so much so that it affected her singing as an opera singer. And we do know that she got a tapeworm at some point in their life. And we do know that she liked to eat her steak rare. But I think it looks by and large like it was urban legend that it got kind of all mixed up together.


And people said that Maria Callas lost weight by ingesting tapeworm. Right. Right.


Like, those two things did happen. She did lose weight and she did have a tapeworm infection probably at some point in her life, but that the two were in no way related. But based on this kind of idea that you could take a tapeworm and lose weight, that that they became conflated into this urban legend, as you were saying, and that that's that's like the one that people point to as proof that this actually happened. And actually, it didn't it didn't happen at all like that.


Supposedly, there is a clinic in Tijuana called worm therapy. Mm hmm. And supposedly this is the one place in the world where you can go get a tapeworm put into your body to lose weight for about 13 hundred bucks. You can get a beef tapeworm. And I've you know, I've been to Tijuana a few times and never sought out worm therapy, but apparently it existed or still exists. It's not clear. So they have a website, I think it's worm therapy, dotcom or dog, and it's the EU, as you know, like, you know, contact form fields.


It shows a map of where it is and it isn't to you on and all that. There's a phone number. I didn't call the phone number, but it's one of those things like, is it actually real number one or is it just a hoax website if it's not a hoax website and it actually is a helminth therapy because remember, in our Hookworms episode, we were talking about that theory that losing some kinds of parasitic worms they think actually harmed our immune system and led to a rise in like Crohn's and stuff like that.


Yeah. So there are clinics out there in the world that use parasitic worms to help autoimmune diseases. So it's possible that worm therapy does that and that they don't do the beef tapeworm thing. But the urban legend is that they they did at least as as recently as 2009 they offered it. It's just not clear whether any of this is true or not. Right.


What we do know is true is that to to purposely do this is not a good idea. All right. It is not a healthy way to lose weight. And you're not even going to lose like it said that you can expect to lose one or two pounds from a tapeworm a week. You can lose that much with a pretty aggressive diet and exercise plan. Yeah.


Supposedly just cutting 500 calories out from your diet every day, every week. You could lose a pound. You can look forward to losing a pound. So, yeah, exactly. Taking a tapeworm to do that is not not a good idea, especially considering. So because that tapeworm is competing for nutrients from you, you're going to end up with a pretty nice little case of malnutrition if it gets pretty bad.


So you're actually going to be your body's going to talk you into eating more than you normally would. Right. So you'll develop even worse eating habits than you did then you have before the tapeworm infection so that when you finally get around to taking a deworming agent and it gets rid of that tapeworm you when you just keep eating again, you're going to gain that weight right back and you're probably going to gain more weight back because you've developed even worse eating habits from having the tapeworm.


And again, all of this is based on the idea that any of this is even true to begin with, which is totally unclear still at this point.


Yes, totally. So that's it. Don't don't take a tapeworm to lose weight. Just exercise and diet. That's that is it. There's no better diet fed than that. Just exercise and diet. And you will lose weight and feel healthier and better and sleep better and have less chronic disease and just be far better off.


That's it. That's right. You got anything else now? Well, since Chuck said no, it's time for listener mail. This is from, uh, a high school student we love hearing from high school students. This is from Kate. Kate says, Hi, guys, I am a junior in high school from Massachusetts, discovered the podcast in September at the start of the school year. And I've loved it ever since. It definitely makes my morning car rides much more interesting and it does wonders to decrease my horrible road rage.


I feel you recently as I was driving to Cape Cod, I was listening to your Spartacus episode.


I've been studying Latin since sixth grade and this year was my first year taking ancient Greek. So needless to say, I'm a huge nerd when it comes to Roman history. I couldn't help but to laugh when I heard you both struggling to pronounce the names of the Roman consuls and their important and other important historical figures. This quarantine has really been tough on me, guys like it has on everyone, and I really needed that laugh. So I thought I would write to you as a sort of thank you note.


Although your pronunciation may not have been great, the whole episode really did wonders to lighten my mood and make me feel better, even though things are crazy right now. Always know that I have your podcast to listen to when I'm feeling down or just want to smile. Wishing you health and happiness. That is from Kate in Massachusetts. Thanks a lot, Kate. That was nice of you to say. Our pronunciation may not have been great.


Yeah. What she means is, as you were way off, it was terrible.


Well, that was very nice, Kate. And it's nice to hear that we're helping you out there. And thank you for writing in. And if you were like Kate and we're helping you out, we always love hearing that kind of thing. You can send an email to us if you like, wrap it up, spend it on the bottom and send it off to Stuff podcast that I heart. Radio dot com.


Stuff you should know is a production of radios HowStuffWorks for more podcasts, My Heart Radio is the radio app, Apple podcasts or wherever you listen to your favorite shows. I'm Jennifer Palmieri, host of a new podcast from the recount called Just Something About Her. After working on five presidential campaigns, I thought women could achieve the same success as men if they played by the rules. Then 2016 happened in my podcast. Just something about her. I'll talk with women, CEOs, athletes, politicians and more.


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I'm your host, Amina Brown, and each week I'm bringing you hilarious storytelling and soulful conversation, censoring the stories of black, indigenous, Latin and Asian women. Her with the MENA Brown is a living room where I invite you to hear new perspectives, poetic readings of things you never thought could be poetic and celebrating. Women of color, who, because of their contributions to the world and their community, are deserving of a crown.


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