Celebrity Weight Loss Secret?

Robert Downey, Jr., 44, contracted a parasite infection after eating in a restaurant in Japan. He was so ill that he lost 5 pounds in three days. After he was feeling better he joked that this weight loss gave him a nice jump start on a diet to achieve a buff appearance for his new Sherlock Holmes movie.

According to an article in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases published in 2005 (full citation in the casebook below): “Because of the worldwide popularization of Japanese cuisine, the traditional Japanese fish dishes sushi and sashimi that are served in Japanese restaurants and sushi bars have been suspected of causing fishborne parasitic zoonoses, especially anisakiasis.”

Anisakiasis is caused by the accidental ingestion of larvae of the nematodes (roundworms) Anisakis simplex and Pseudoterranova decipiens. Symptoms include severe abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea and can last for several days.

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Mark Boguski, M.D., Ph.D. is on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and is a member of the Society for Participatory Medicine, "a movement in which networked patients shift from being mere passengers to responsible drivers of their health" and in which professional health care providers encourage "empowered patients" and value them as full partners in managing their health and wellness.

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