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Trivial Pursuits, Part 1

Posted on 2007-03-21
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Last Modified: 2008-02-01
The "Old but young" question ( http://www.experts-exchange.com/Other/Puzzles_Riddles/Q_22462019.html ) got me thinking about another death-related question that I came across in the board game Trivial Pursuit many years ago.

The question was "What has been the cause of every human death?" Their answer was "Hypoxema [or Hypoxemia or Hypoxia] (Lack of blood to the brain)". I disagreed with their answer and immediately thought of a counterexample. What I'd like to know is: How many counterexamples can you think of, experts?" All reasonable efforts will be rewarded.
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Question by:KelvinY
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Infinity08 earned 150 total points
ID: 18766135
It depends on how you define death, I guess. The trivial pursuit answer can be correct if the definition is based on brain activity.

At what moment does death occur ?
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by:ozo
ozo earned 150 total points
ID: 18767006
I don't think I would call hypoxemia the cause of death at ground 0 at Nagasaki
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by:KelvinY
ID: 18767242
ozo

That was the counterexample I used. I'd be interested to see what else the experts can come up with.
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by:noci
noci earned 100 total points
ID: 18768063
Braincells will die if they get submerged in blood (i.e. a vessel ruptures within the brain). Hardly a condition that is lack of blood.
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by:ozo
ID: 18768211
A rupture also cuts off oxygenated blood to brain cells.
Cells can be destroyed by being oxidized, but I can't think of anyone who died that way.
Anything that phisically destroys a brain in less than a few seconds should prevent death from anoxia.
Or if anoxia is not techincally the same as hypoxia, maybe a complete loss of blood flow is also a counter example.
I'd also think there could be cases of brain cells slowly dieing from other causes while maintaining oxygenated blood flow.
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Expert Comment

by:noci
ID: 18769559
The iron in the redblood cells is fatal to brain cells, and there
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by:noci
ID: 18773935
Iron from redbloodcells destroys  breaincell, I was told once.

BSE, Creutzfeld Jakob, although the last bit of cells might still suffer Hypoxia
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by:dagesi
dagesi earned 100 total points
ID: 18779870
In the case of an cerebral hemorrhage caused by aneurysm, what actually kills you...?
Is it the pressure in the head - and if so, does that kill you because the pressure buildup keeps the blood OUT of the places it's supposed to go in? - or because the blood is simply not GOING where it's supposed to?
The answer to that would seem to relate to why the "treatment" for aneurysms is what it is...
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by:noci
ID: 18783071
influx of various metals into braincells will call apoptose of braincells
(just google around for) braincells + poison +
(aluminum, lead, mercury, iron etc.)  
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by:KelvinY
ID: 18785153
There have been some quite insightful comments so far. It seems to me that there is no clear cut answer, but that any incident that involves decapitation or catastrophic destruction of the head could be considered a non-hypoxemic death. I thought that execution by electric chair would also be a good counterexample, as the prisoner's brain is well oxygenated right up to the moment that a huge jolt of electricity fries all of his neurons.

Before I close this question, with points for everyone who has conrtributed, does anyone else have a good counterexample to death by hypoxemia? And do you think that the question would have been accurate if it had been phrased as "What has been the cause of every *natural* human death?"
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by:noci
ID: 18785290
Is getting stricken down by lightning natural or not...
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by:ozo
ID: 18787459
I think decapitation would count as anoxia.
Does elecrocution kill by frying neurons ot by sending the heart into v-fib?
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by:KelvinY
ID: 18804423
Some thought provoking comments. Points for all who contributed and thanks for your thoughts.
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