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Biology and The X-Men!

  1. Apr 27, 2010 #1
    On one of the X-Men movies (which sucked, by the way), the character Magneto removed an amount of iron that amounted to the size of a tennis ball from someone's body. Apparently, one of Magneto's henchmen had injected the guy with iron beforehand.

    I'm curious about how realistic this is. Could someone survive or not show any signs of health problems with that much iron in their body, especially if most of it was injected all at once? Approximately how much iron do adults have in their bodies, specifically, the average 40 year-old guy on a typical American diet? Would an injection like that do more harm than good to an iron-deficient adult?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 4, 2010 #2
    Injecting foreign things into a body never really does them any good. I would expect that is you were injected with a solution containing iron, it would probably upset the water potential in your veins and lead to dehydration or cells bursting, I'm not sure which way the water would flow. Iron inserted below the skin among cells however, would probably be fine as long as it wasn't contaminated. The body would attack it at first and then give up and leave it be.
     
  4. May 5, 2010 #3

    Borg

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    Injecting some sort of metallic solution into a person's veins would not be a good thing. A Google search for "toxicity of metal solutions" turns up a large number of hits. It would have been easier in the movie to just shove a tube down his throat and pour in BBs. They would have little effect on the body and just pass right through.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2010
  5. May 5, 2010 #4

    Pythagorean

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    I don't think it was injected, I think his diet was just highly sumplemented. I don't remember it specifying though. The question is whether someone could consume enough iron over a period of time to account for a tennis ball amount of magnetic material.
     
  6. May 5, 2010 #5

    Borg

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    It was injected. From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X2_%28film%29" [Broken].

    Impersonating Senator Robert Kelly and Yuriko, Mystique gains information about Magneto's prison and provides a means for him to escape by injecting iron into a guard's bloodstream.

    From what I remeber, she spiked the guard's drink and lured him into the bathroom where he passed out. Then she injected him.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  7. May 5, 2010 #6

    CRGreathouse

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    I calculate that a tennis ball-sized globe of iron would mass about
    4/3*pi*(6.7 cm/2)^3 * 7.874 grams/cm^3 = 1.24 kg, and that a 200-pound person would have about
    200 lbs * 0.0007 = 0.063 kg
    so that the amount of iron would need to be increased about 18-fold over normal levels.
     
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