LIFE

The Blue People Of Kentucky

This isn’t about aliens or monsters or whatever, it’s about some real guys and gals in America that turned blue.

These people who suffer from methemoglobinemia have a high proportion of methemoglobin (Mgb) in their blood rather than the normal ferrous haemoglobin (Hb) which as I’m sure you know carries oxygen around the body. So what? Well, I’ll tell you: Mgb is rubbish at binding oxygen. Normal Hb hangs around in groups of four, if one of those four Hbs is an Mgb then the other three fully functioning, standard Hb units ends up doing more of the work and holding on to the oxygen more tightly than normal.

Blue Fugates - Kentucky Family - Methemoglobinemia

That sounds fine, but it holds onto the oxygen so tightly that when it reaches tissues, i.e. skin, muscle etc, it won’t let go of the oxygen so it goes a little bit blue. Hence the smurf look. Mgb is present in normal folk, but there are a system of enzymes that clear it up and stop it being a problem. Sufferers of methemoglobinemia have problems with these enzyme pathways so the blue hue sticks around.

Blue Fugates - Kentucky Family - Methemoglobinemia 2

It’s a pretty cool look yeah?

☛ More: Black Death — The Scourge Of Europe

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