23 Science Facts That Creeped Us Out In 2022

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Vote up the disconcerting facts you kind of wish you could un-learn.

The world of science can be a weird and wonderful place. At the same time, it can often be downright disturbing to learn more about how life works. For instance, was it necessary to know that oysters are alive and possibly spawning as we eat them? Or to know that microscopic mites are mating on our faces?

These icky and creepy science facts probably won't help you sleep better at night, but they will make you a little bit wiser to the world around you. And give you some good bits of trivia you can use to gross people out.

Vote up the science facts that will creep you out all the way into 2023.


  • The Boys at the Fernald School Were Purposefully Fed Radioactive Oatmeal
    Photo: Daderot / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain
    1
    421 VOTES

    The Boys at the Fernald School Were Purposefully Fed Radioactive Oatmeal

    The Walter E. Fernald School was marketed as a special school for disabled children. While stories of abuse in institutions for disabled individuals are sadly prevalent throughout history, the Fernald school took matters to a disturbing level.

    Between the 1940s and '50s - the height of the atomic age - MIT scientists were interested in conducting experiments concerning human health. They used children society had discarded as unknowing participants in their experiments. They fed the children Quaker oatmeal laced with radioactive iron and calcium. Some children were even directly injected with radioactive calcium.

    In addition to disabled children, the school also housed many orphans or homeless children whom the state needed to place. While many children died in the school unrelated to the experiments, many at the school suffered numerous abuses in addition to the Quaker Oats experiment.

    421 votes
  • 2
    364 VOTES

    In The ’80s, Bayer Knowingly Sold A Medication Made Of Human Blood That Carried A Risk Of HIV

    In recent years, many pharmaceutical companies have come under fire for their past questionable actions, including Bayer. According to numerous medical professionals and medication recipients, Bayer knowingly sold a blood-clotting medicine made with human blood that carried a risk of HIV.

    During the mid 1980s, Bayer allegedly sold millions of dollars' worth of the medication, Factor VIII concentrate, in Asia and Latin America, which caused thousands of people to contract HIV. This medicine was made from pooled plasma donations from approximately 10,000 people.

    At the time, scientific technology was less advanced, so these blood donations couldn't be tested for HIV, resulting in thousands of hemophiliacs becoming infected. The company continued selling the product after warnings from the CDC about blood products causing increased AIDS cases in hemophiliacs.

    Perhaps the most alarming part is Bayer sold a new, safer version of its blood-clotting medicine to the US and other Western countries, leading some to accuse the company of ethnic discrimination. When doctors noticed the increase in HIV cases amongst hemophiliacs in Hong Kong and questioned the older version of the medication, Bayer assured its distributor there was "no severe hazard" to using the medication, calling it the “same fine product we have supplied for years.”

    Bayer defended its decision to sell the older medication in certain countries, saying some customers doubted the efficacy of the new version and certain foreign markets were slow to approve it.

    364 votes
  • 3
    379 VOTES

    Some Tumors Can Grow Teeth And Hair

    Many strange discoveries have shocked and perplexed scientists and doctors alike in the medical world. One particularly unsettling medical phenomenon is the teratoma.

    A teratoma is a rare germ cell tumor that can contain immature or fully formed tissues. This means these tumors can grow teeth and hair, and some are even able to grow eyes, bone, and muscle.

    These tumors can be cancerous and non-cancerous and form in newborns, children, and adults. They're most common in females. Teratomas are usually found in the testicles, ovaries, and tailbone, but they can also grow in other body parts.

    379 votes
  • 4
    292 VOTES

    Naegleria Fowleri Is A 'Brain-Eating Amoeba' With A 97% Fatality Rate And No Known Cure

    Naegleria Fowleri is a dangerous microorganism that lives and breeds in freshwater lakes, rivers, and soil. It can sometimes even be found in swimming pools that are minimally chlorinated or ill-maintained. The amoeba (a single-celled microscopic organism) enters the human body through the nose; from there, the organism travels to the brain, where it destroys brain tissue.

    Initial symptoms include headache, fever, and nausea. Later symptoms include stiff neck, confusion, hallucinations, loss of balance, and seizures. Perhaps most terrifying of all is that it has a mortality rate of over 97%, and death typically occurs within five days of exposure. Oddly enough, people can’t be infected by drinking tainted water.

    The good news is that infections are rare - between 2011 and 2020, only 33 people were reportedly infected in the US. The bad news is that infections are most likely to occur in summer months from recreational water sources. Of the 33 infections, 29 occurred in recreational bodies of water, while one other occurred from contaminated tap water on a Slip 'N Slide.

    In 2021, a child died from an infection contracted at a splash pad at a Texas park. Reviews of the facility showed a lapse in water-testing procedures.

    292 votes
  • 5
    283 VOTES

    Microplastics Have Shown Up In Placentas

    Microplastics are just that - tiny pieces of plastic in various shapes and sizes. Primary microplastics are designed to be less than 5 millimeters in length, while secondary microplastics come from broken-down plastics of a larger size.

    These plastics are everywhere, and evidence of their presence in the human body has caused increasing concern. In 2020, researcher Rolf Halden indicated, "We have detected these chemicals of plastics in every single organ that we have investigated."

    Exploration into the consequences of microplastics continues, but in 2021, another discovery caught the attention of the scientific community. Microplastics found in the placentas of unborn babies were especially troublesome, "due to the crucial role of placenta in supporting the fetus’s development and in acting as an interface with the external environment."

    Doctor Antonio Ragusa from a hospital in Rome put it another way:

    It is like having a cyborg baby: no longer composed only of human cells, but a mixture of biological and inorganic entities.

    283 votes
  • 6
    273 VOTES

    Cloudy Oysters Are Filled With Reproductive Fluids

    The majority of oysters don’t stay the same sex over the course of their entire lives. Instead, oysters are known as protandric animals, meaning they can change their sex organs from male to female over time.

    Usually, oysters have reproductive organs containing eggs and sperm. Once an oyster reaches maturation after a year of life, it will release sperm, and a few years later, it will release eggs.

    During spawning season, an oyster is filled with reproductive fluids that make it cloudy. If an oyster is not spawning, it will have an opaque appearance. People often eat spawning oysters that are filled with reproductive fluid, though they may not realize it. Fortunately, if oysters have been handled correctly and refrigerated, eating them during this process won't harm humans.

    273 votes