It’s truly Science Week here on The Cow.

It’s not often that you happen on the words ‘pig brain mist’ in a sentence, and so when the headline of an article is ‘Is Pig Brain Mist Linked to Mystery Ailment?’, you know it’s a must read. But before you do read on, a warning: the following might make you even more nauseous than the notion of a Pork Martini.

From this week’s New Scientist:

WORKERS at two pork-processing plants in the US have developed a mysterious nervous ailment after using compressed air to blast brain tissue from severed pig heads. The end product is a pink food paste that is canned and exported, but the process also generates an aerosol of brain matter that workers may inhale… Neurologist Daniel Lachance of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, suspects that this is the result of autoimmune damage triggered by immune reactions to proteins from the pig brains.

I’m not quite sure which concept makes me gag more: the pink food paste, or the aerosol of brain matter. I’m developing a mysterious nervous ailment simply by reading about it.


…and I wonder if Dr Lachance has considered that merely the act of blasting brains out of severed porcine heads is enough, in itself, to give someone a serious nervous ailment. Or nightmares at the very least. Maybe if the workers sang to take their minds off their troubles…

OK. So that’s not really gonna help with the nightmares.