Don’t eat bitter pumpkin, study warns after women lose hair

Bitter-tasting pumpkins and squashes can contain potent toxins, doctors say. (Shutterstock)
Updated 28 May 2018

Don’t eat bitter pumpkin, study warns after women lose hair

PARIS: A doctor warned Friday that bitter-tasting pumpkins and squashes can contain potent toxins, after two women were poisoned by their dinners and lost most of their hair.
French dermatologist Philippe Assouly described the two unusual cases in a scientific journal, highlighting a previously unknown “toxic association of alopecia (hair loss) with a common plant.”
The plant family in question are cucurbits and include squashes, gourds, and pumpkins.
In the first case, a woman in France suffered nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, which started soon after she ate a bitter-tasting pumpkin soup.
The symptoms lasted for about a day. Then a week later, she started losing hair from her scalp and pubis.
“The meal had been shared with her family, who had eaten less of the soup than she had, and they experienced symptoms of food poisoning but no hair loss,” Assouly wrote in the Journal of the American Medical Association Dermatology.
A second woman experienced food poisoning with severe vomiting after a meal that included squash. Other diners had skipped the squash because it tasted bitter.
“About three weeks later, the patient experienced substantial hair loss on her head as well as severe alopecia on the armpits and pubic region,” the doctor said.
Cucurbits can contain cucurbitacin, a toxic compound that gives off a bitter taste.
The bitterness is bred out of domesticated cucurbits. But sometimes insects moving from one field to another cross-pollinate a cultivated plant with a wild or ornamental one.
“Bitterness in a squash should serve as a warning,” Assouly told AFP. “One should not force a child to finish it.”
Three years ago, a German died of cucurbitacin poisoning after eating a courgette stew, the doctor said.
These are the first known cases of hair loss due to cucurbit poisoning.


Miss Egypt hopeful as the 2019 Miss Universe kicks off in Atlanta

The 68th edition of the Miss Universe pageant is currently underway at the Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, Georgia. AFP
Updated 08 December 2019

Miss Egypt hopeful as the 2019 Miss Universe kicks off in Atlanta

  • Egypt's Diana Hamed is the only contestant representing the Arab world at the 68th edition of Miss Universe
  • On Dec. 6, she took to the stage at the pre-coronation national costume contest to show off her patriotic side

DUBAI: The 68th edition of the Miss Universe pageant is currently underway at the Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, Georgia, where The Philippines' Catriona Gray is set to crown her successor on Dec. 8. 

The pageant kicked off on Dec. 7 with the Preliminary and National Costume Competition at Atlanta’s Marriott Marquis where the Miss Universe contestants are competing for a spot in the top 20.

Among the hopeful contestants who hail from 90 different countries and territories is Diana Hamed, the reigning Miss Egypt, who take home the crown for Miss Universe Egypt 2019, a title previously held by Egyptian icon Iolanda Gigliotti— more commonly known as Dalida— the winner of the 1954 competition. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

From today’s dinner dress by: @elhamalyousif

A post shared by Miss Universe Egypt 2019 (@dianahamed_) on

The 20-year-old beat out 19 other contestants on Oct. 20 to accept the crown from her predecessor Nariman Khaled at a jam-packed ceremony at Cairo’s Al Massah Hotel. The beauty queen was selected by an expert panel that comprised of the National Director of Miss Universe Hoda Abboud, Egyptian fashion designer Hany El Beheiry and actress Nermine El Feky, among others.

Aya Abdel Razek was crowned the first runner-up, while Mirna Makkawi was the second runner up.

Hamed is the only contestant representing the Arab world in the highly-televised competition, which is once again being hosted by American television presenter Steve Harvey.

Hailing from Cairo, the business student took to the stage on Dec. 6 for the pre-coronation National Costume Contest to show off her patriotic side by donning a stunning red and gold ensemble paired with a crown to represent her country.

The business student took to the stage on Dec. 6 for the pre-coronation National Costume Contest to show off her patriotic side. Instagram

Miss Universe 2019 will be crowned by the reigning Catriona Gray. If Hamed wins, she will receive a one-year contract with the Miss Universe Organization, which will see her traveling overseas to perform charity work and raise awareness for diseases and education. The winner will also receive room and board in a luxury apartment in New York City plus cash allowance for her entire reign, a New York Film Academy scholarship, a modeling portfolio with WME IMG, which happens to be the Miss Universe parent organization, a year supply of beauty products, a custom-styled new wardrobe, and healthcare, as well as invitations to events such as fashion shows, movie premieres and opening galas throughout New York.