A husband and wife scientist team in England has devised a titillating means of identifying oncoming illnesses in patients by using a bioluminescent mollusk called a piddock. Dr. Jan Knight and Dr. Robert Knight have already started using their method on the English Olympic sailing team to help monitor their health before the impending games.
Here’s what piddocks look like, glowing and in someone’s hand.
The process works like this: Piddocks let off a blue-green glow when a protein they contain called Pholasin comes into contact with free radical chemicals. Free radicals are also produced by human white blood cells when they are gearing up to fight harmful bacteria and viruses. In many cases, the white blood cells effectively…
…know that their human hosts are sick before the humans do, and begin releasing free radicals accordingly before any overt symptoms have emerged. Thus, if you want to know if you have an impending illness, you only need to eat a piddock whole (they’re only about 6 inches long). If your stomach glows an eerie green color in the dark, you’re about to get sick. If not, you’re probably just stressed out or overtired.
My last couple of sentences were complete lies. The Knight’s company, Knights Scientific Ltd., has isolated the protein found in piddocks, Pholasin, and have produced a product from it. They mix their product with small amounts of human blood (taken from a painless pinprick), and then measure the amount of light that is released from the mixture.
For athlete’s and their trainers, these tests can help to determine if the competitors are at their peak levels before competitions, if they need rest or maybe even medication.