Correspondence| Volume 136, ISSUE 4, P1187, October 01, 2009
Trees Don’t Grow in the Lungs!
To the Editor:
We would like to bring to the attention of readers that trees do not grow in humans. To the best of our knowledge, there has never been a single report in the medical literature of seeds and/or plants growing in humans. If they did, watermelon seeds and peanuts,which are the most commonly aspirated foreign bodies, would be growing out of control from our lungs. Moreover, it makes no biological sense that in the absence of sunlight and appropriate nutrient medium, photosynthesis and germination of a seed can take place. Foreign-body aspiration often goes undetected if the initial choking episode is not obvious. In adults, a reason for the lack of acute symptoms may be the larger caliber of airways, resulting in most foreign bodies lodging in distal airways. Seeds and plant material by themselves, however, are radiolucent, and any radio-opacity seen is likely from complications. A high index of suspicion is required. A bronchoscopic examination of the airway will establish the diagnosis.
In the realm of scientific observation, the adage “trees do not grow in the lungs” indeed holds true in every sense.
Is this a hoax?
Too Strange to be True? Tree Found Growing in Man’s Lung
Remember being told when you were a kid that if you swallowed any of the seeds inside an apple, the fruit would start growing in your stomach? And then learning later that it was all a joke? Well…turns out that might not be so far from impossible. The Russian publication Mosnews.com is reporting that a 28-year-old patient was found to have a five-centimeter fir tree in his lung.
Doctors were performing a biopsy on the patient, Artyom Sidorkin, after he’d complained of intense chest pain and was coughing up blood. They suspected cancer, but instead of finding a tumor when they cut the lung tissue, they reportedly found green needles. They continued, in alleged disbelief, to remove an entire branch from inside Sidorkin’s body.
The medical team believes that the blood Sidorkin had been coughing up was a result of the needles poking the capillaries, and that the branch grew inside his body after he swallowed a small bud—since clearly, the branch was not swallowed whole.
Hoax? Or truth? We’ll keep you updated as the story, er, blooms.