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吸血鬼: 神话背后的科学 – 译学馆
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吸血鬼: 神话背后的科学

Vampires: The Science Behind the Myth

关于吸血鬼的故事已经流行了几个世纪
Vampire stories have been popping up for centuries,
其中一些相比另外一些就显得更加吓人而不是让人眼前一亮
and some of them are a lot scarier and less sparkly than others.
最常见的故事就包括皮肤苍白的死人走在路上
The most common stories involve dead people walking the Earth with pale skin,
他们害怕阳光 渴望鲜血
a fear of sunlight, and a thirst for blood …
但是这种神话实际上可能也会存在一些科学基础
but that myth might actually have some basis in scientific fact.
确实是这样 大多数文化中就包括类似吸血鬼的故事
Really. Most cultures have some sort of vampire-like story.
例如中国民俗学中 就有能让你生命慢慢枯竭的幽灵
In Chinese folklore, for example, there are evil spirits that drain your life away.
在印度 也有关于曾经是人类在死后没有正确的火葬而变成的恶魔的传说
And in India, there are legends about demons who used to be people, but weren’t cremated properly.
通常 这些神话可能来自于对于疾病蔓延现象的深刻理解
Mainly, these myths probably came from a deep misunderstanding of how diseases spread.
就像瘟疫时期 人们理解了恐惧的滋味
During epidemics like the plague, people were understandably terrified and
寻找显然不可预测的疾病的解释
searching for explanation for the apparent randomness of illness.
但是流行的吸血鬼神话有着非常具体的症状
But the vampire myth that’s caught on in pop culture has very specific symptoms,
科学家们相信他们可以追踪到实际的医学情况
and scientists believe they might be traced back to actual medical conditions.
第一个可能的情况是一种叫做卟啉症的小病
The first possible connection is a group of disorders called porphyria, which are caused
是因为在你的血液里有过多的卟啉分子
by too much of a molecule in your blood called porphyrin.
你的红细胞大部分是由叫做血红蛋白的蛋白质组成
Your red blood cells mostly contain a massive protein called hemoglobin, which moves oxygen
它负责搬运你身体里的氧气和二氧化碳
and carbon dioxide around your body.
在血红蛋白的中间是环形碳 氮和氢
And in the middle of hemoglobin is a ring of carbon, nitrogen, and hydrogen
叫做卟啉环
called a porphyrin ring.
正常来说 酶会把血红蛋白转化成另外一种叫做亚铁血红素的分子
Normally, enzymes convert porphyrin into another molecule called a heme group.
但是对于得了卟啉症的人来说 他们的身体没有足够的酶
But for someone who suffers from porphyria, their body doesn’t have enough of one of those enzymes,
所以血红蛋白就不断增长然后就会造成一些问题
so the porphyrin builds up and causes problems.
其中一个情况就是让他们的皮肤对于太阳特别敏感
For one, it makes their skin really sensitive to sunlight,
他们会生让人痛苦的皮疹 但是仅仅是当他们出去的时候
and they get painful rashes and blisters… but only when they go outside.
还有一些卟啉也会存在于他们的牙齿和嘴巴里面 形成红色或是棕色的污点
The excess porphyrin also builds up in their teeth and mouth, causing red or brown discoloration.
这看起来就像是他们喝了……鲜血
It can even look a bit like they’ve been drinking…blood.
今天 卟啉症可以治疗了 但是追溯到中世纪 它还没有被人们很好的理解
Today, porphyria is treatable, but back in the middle ages, it wasn’t very well understood,
所以人们创造了关于它的各种各样的故事
so people could have made up all kinds of stories about it.
大多数的卟啉症也是遗传下来的
Most kinds of porphyria are also hereditary conditions,
所以故事大多是关于一群吸血鬼或是一个吸血鬼感染了他们的家庭
so stories could have easily spread about a group of vampires, or one vampire who infected their family.
另外一个神话起源来自于糙皮病
Another likely origin for the myth is a condition called pellagra.
糙皮病是缺少两种东西引起的缺食性营养不良造成的
Pellagra is caused by a dietary deficiency of two things —
烟酸 也叫作维生素B3 和叫做色氨酸的一种氨基酸
niacin, also called vitamin B3, and an amino acid called tryptophan.
通常 你的身体用烟酸来将食物转化成能量
Normally, your body uses niacin to turn food into energy.
即使你没有在食物中摄入足量的烟酸
And even if you aren’t getting enough of it in your diet,
你的身体也会从色氨酸中造出烟酸 所以所有的过程才能平稳的进行
your body will also create niacin from tryptophan, so everything should still run smoothly.
但是当你的身体中两种东西都不足的时候 问题就出现了
But when you aren’t getting enough of either, things go wrong.
大约300年前 玉米开始代替了小麦作为大部分欧洲人的主食
Around 300 years ago, corn started to replace wheat as the food staple for a lot of Europeans.
这是很好的 因为玉米比小麦长得更好 而且更便宜 但是却没有小麦营养
This was great because it grew really well and was cheap, but it also wasn’t very nutritious.
在墨西哥 种植玉米长达几个世纪的地方 在玉米传播到欧洲之前
In Mexico, where corn had been farmed for centuries before it came to Europe,
他们的核心是在用之前处理水和矿物酸橙的混合物
the kernels were treated with a mixture of water and the mineral lime before use.
这就使它发生了反应释放掉了所有的健康的维生素
That caused a reaction that released all those healthy vitamins,
但是欧洲人没有把这个方法用过来
but it wasn’t a practice Europeans brought home with them.
更糟糕的是 玉米不包含足够的色氨酸
To make things worse, corn also doesn’t contain much tryptophan,
所以人们身体里没有什么能转化成烟酸
so there was nothing for their bodies to convert into niacin.
无论人们吃多少玉米 他们都不能获得他们需要的维生素
No matter how much corn people ate, they couldn’t get the vitamins they needed,
所以糙皮病就开始在这些区域蔓延
so pellagra started popping up all over the place.
糙皮病的症状和卟啉症看起来实际上是差不多的
The symptoms of pellagra actually look pretty similar to porphyria.
病人会对阳光很敏感 而且一出门就会生出严重的皮疹
Patients are sensitive to sunlight and get terrible rashes if they go outside.
有时候 皮疹会很严重 以至于皮肤会慢慢开始腐烂
Sometimes, the rash gets so bad that the skin starts to degrade over time,
看起来很苍白就像纸一样
looking pale and papery.
他们的嘴巴开始变红 舌头会膨胀起来
Their mouths also turn red, and their tongues start to swell.
这些人经常会在舌头上留下牙齿的痕迹
People are often left with imprints of their teeth in on their tongues,
就会让人们以为吸血鬼有大的犬齿
which could have started the idea that vampires have large canine teeth.
糙皮病也会造成大脑中的神经元退化
Pellagra can also cause neurons to degenerate in the brain,
从而引起严重的精神疾病和失眠
which can lead to severe mental illness and insomnia.
再加上阳光过敏症 也许就能解释
Add in a sunlight allergy, and that might explain
为什么故事中的吸血鬼不会在晚上睡觉了
why the vampires in stories don’t sleep at night.
现在 糙皮病和卟啉症也许能解释一些症状
Now, pellagra and porphyria might explain some symptoms,
但是“行尸走肉”的来源可能来自于完全不同的情况
but the whole “walking dead” thing might have come from something totally different.
一些人认为它来自于叫做全身僵硬症的神经性疾病
Some think it comes from a neurological condition called catalepsy.
就像癫痫一样 它影响的是中央神经系统的信号传输
Like epilepsy, it affects signaling in the central nervous system.
但不是肌肉痉挛
But instead of muscle spasms,
是人们的肌肉完全紧绷 身体所有的机能看起来都已经停止了
the person’s muscles seize completely, and everything seems to shut down.
他们根本不能移动 他们的心跳和呼吸速率也会慢下来
They can’t move at all, and their heart and respiration rates slow down
直到他们看起来真的死了
until it looks like they’re actually dead.
因为那时候的医生们还不能使用敏感性机器
And since doctors back in the day didn’t have access to sensitive machines to measure
来检测一个人是否还活着 他们通常会认为这些经历全身僵硬症的人都已经死了
whether someone was alive, they often thought someone experiencing a cataleptic seizure had died.
那么他们怎么处理这些死人呢?
And what did they do with dead people?
把他们埋起来
They buried them.
你可以想象一下 如果你看到有人从他们的坟墓里爬出来
Like you can imagine, if you saw some guy climb out of his coffin,
对他来说让你相信他还活着而不是吸血鬼该多难
it’d be super hard for him to convince you he was actually alive and not a blood-sucking vampire.
这三种病都还存在 幸好
All three of these conditions still exist, but thankfully,
现在它们都可以被治疗或避免了
they’re much more treatable or avoidable now.
最后 我们知道他们不是那么恐怖了
And at the end of the day, we know they’re definitely not anything to be afraid of.
感谢你收看这一期的科学秀 万圣节快乐!
Thanks for watching this episode of SciShow, and Happy Halloween!
如果你想看更多令人毛骨悚然的科学 你可以从我们去年的节目看起
If you’d like even more spooky science, you can watch our episode from last year,
我们解释了吸血蝙蝠一些血腥咋舌的事实
where we explain some bloody amazing facts about vampire bats.

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视频概述

吸血鬼真的存在吗?吸血鬼真的那么恐怖吗?相信看了这一期的科学秀以后会颠覆你的三观。

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视频来源

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrJ3poBaNaQ

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