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Monday, February 27, 2012

Bangungut a mystery?

I can still remember when I was still a freshman in the college of medicine at Our lady of Fatima University. When I heard that Rico Yan died of bangungut? I tried to search it in my medical books and even asked my professor about it. There are few articles to be found, Sudden and unexpected death syndrome (SUDS) as medical books called it. More popular in our local language as '' bangungut'' meaning bangun ( wake up) and ungul (moan). It is said that victims moan in his sleep before dying. Folk belief says  that if you go to bed hungry, the spirit will leave the body and search for food  in the kitchen and most often the spirit gets trapped inside pots and pan. This was first studied in 1948 by Dr. Alvin Majoska, a hawaiian coroner, noted that healthy filipino men simply died in their sleep.        
Autopsy concluded that Yan had died of cardiac arrest caused by acute hemorrhagic pancreatitis(bangungot in Tagalog) while asleep. He was 27.

Different theories have traced the cause of bangungut to the following

1) Diet - Filipino food when digested causes autointoxication that affects the heart and pancreas main suspect ( Patis) or fish sauce

2) Heart problem - banungut merely a heart attack

3) A heavy meal before sleeping- The stomach excerts pressure to the heart

In the Philippines , most cases can be linked to acute hemorrhagic pancreatitis, Seen during autopsy. Others say that bangungut is no longer specific to filipino men. Other asian men have died in a similar way (Laos and Thailand) It will still remain a mystery until medical science   can fully explain this phenomenon.       


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