After 20 Years of Research it is found that Eating Lychee is Directly linked to Brain Failure & Coma
Many Children are dying in India every Year due to this Fruit.
Stop Eating Lychee Now.
Hoax or Fact:
Certain stories doing rounds online warn people that Eating Lychee is Directly Linked to Brain Failure & Coma, asking to stop eating the fruit. It is shown as a finding of 20 years of research, as many children in India are allegedly dying every year eating the Lychee fruit. As explained below, the claim is only partially fact.
Actual Context of Story
The fresh fruit of Lychee, litchi, liechee, liche, lizhi, li zhi, or lichee has a delicate, whitish pulp with a floral smell and fragrant, sweet flavor. The story, in most certainty, refers to mysterious Brain illness seen in hundreds of children in Muzaffarpur city of Bihar state in India. Since 1995 the young children in the city have been suddenly falling ill, having seizures and becoming unconscious, before waking up with screams, usually in the morning hours. Some of the children would slip into a coma, and about 40 percent died, often within hours. The most mysterious outbreak usually occurs between summer months of May and July, initially ascribed to heat stroke; or to infections carried by rats, bats or sand flies; or to the pesticides used in the lychee orchards spread wide in the region.
Case Report of The Lancet Global Health
A study published in 30 January 2017 issue of the British Medical Journal The Lancet Global Health looked into the association of aforementioned Acute Toxic Encephalopathy with Litchi consumption in the outbreak in Muzaffarpur. The researchers analyzed about 400 cases of children who developed the mysterious brain illness in 2014. Note, due to the Litchi-Syndrome, in mid 2014 nine children died in Malda district of West Bengal too. The current case-control study confirmed the cause of the mysterious brain illness to be the lychee fruit, grown widely in orchards of the Muzaffarpur city. Note that Muzaffarpur is India's largest litchi cultivation region. The study pointed that the lychee fruits are harvested around the same time the illnesses begin in mid-May, ending in July. Most of the children who got sick had consumed lychee fruit shortly before becoming ill, often on an empty stomach. Moreover, examination of urine samples showed that two-thirds of the sick children had evidence of exposure to two toxins Hypoglycin A and Methylenecyclopropyl Glycine (MCPG) found in lychee seeds.
The researchers explained that the children who skipped their dinner had their blood sugar levels dropped, and the aforementioned toxins from the lychees disrupted the metabolism of fatty acids (which happens in such cases), leading to extremely low blood sugar levels, brain inflammation and seizures. They also mentioned other potential factors like poor nutritional status in rural Muzaffarpur, eating a greater number of lychees, and yet unidentified genetic differences. Notably, similar outbreaks have been reported in litchi-growing regions of Vietnam and Bangladesh as well.
The Hoax Information
As claimed in the story, eating Lychee is not exactly related directly to brain failure & coma, there are other contributing factors as explained above. The children dying every year mostly belong to Muzaffarpur city of Bihar state, not in entire India. And more importantly, the researchers did not warn to stop eating Lychee. They instead recommended the children in the affected areas to limit consumption of lychees, and advised parents to make sure their children eat an evening meal, so as to prevent cases of the illness during the "outbreak period."