Fairyology Episode 1
The story of sleeping beauty (if you didn’t already know) is about the princess aurora. A jealous fairy named Maleficent casts a sleeping curse on her if she is to ever prick her finger on the pin of a spinning wheel. Although every effort is taken to stop this from happening, she pricks her fingers and falls in to a deep sleep (1). Or a long those lines from my research fairy tales change dependant on which person you talk to.
So where’s the science behind this story. Science is everywhere so surely it’s here! I’ve come up with three scientific theories as to why a pin prick could cause you to fall in to a coma! Enjoy
DISCLAIMER: Be prepared for some silliness!
Theory 1: Poison
I’ve written a lot about poisons here on ThatBiologist before, specifically in The Poisons Collection. Nevertheless poison could be the reason for her coma. If the pin on the spinning wheel was laced with poison, Aurora pricking her finger on the pin could be enough with the right concentrations to cause a coma. Potential poisons could be developed from the plants: Oleander, Hemlock, Rhododendron and lily of the valley! Although something more direct could be cyanide poisoning. Poison could work by stopping the cells ability to use oxygen. The lack of oxygen particularly in the brain could cause the coma (2).
Theory 2: Trauma
The second theory goes like this, Aurora goes into the room with the spinning wheel, pricks her finger on the spinning wheel and through the shock falls and hits her head. Her brain from the trauma starts to swell and this causes a coma (3). Simple right! How the princes kiss wakes her well we will just ignore that bit for now.
Theory 3: Perhaps she needed a Snickers?
If the beloved princess aurora suffered with diabetes her coma could have been a diabetic one. Diabetic comas can be caused by hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia is when there is a low blood sugar level which can in extreme cases cause a loss of conciousness. It can either be caused by not having enough food, an excess of insulin, vigorous exercise or excessive drinking of alcohol (4).
But how does that relate to the pin prick I hear you ask. Well if the pin on the spinning wheel had been laced with an excessive amount of insulin this could have caused her coma. Yes I know this is a really weak theory but that’s not the point!
BONUS Theory 4: Magic
Who says magic isn’t science anyway!
To conclude there may be no scientific reasoning behind this story, it is a fairy tale after all but it was fun trying! Hope you’ve enjoyed this first episode of fairyology! Got plenty more to come!
1 = http://shortstoriesshort.com/story/sleeping-beauty/
2 = http://www.nap.edu/read/4795/chapter/24
3 = http://www.webmd.com/brain/coma-types-causes-treatments-prognosis