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Other titles in the Guinness Book of Records series:
Guinness World Records 2004 (Guinness Book of Records)by Claire Folkard
Heaviest man The heaviest person in medical history was Jon Brower Minnoch (USA). He suffered from obesity as a child and, by 1963, when he was 22 years old and 6 ft. 1 in. (1.85 m) tall, he weighed 392 lb. (178 kg). Four years later, he weighed 700 lb. (317 kg), and by September, 1976, he weighed 975 lb. (442 kg). He was rushed to the hospital in 1978 with heart and respiratory failure, weighing an estimated 1400 lb. (635 kg). When he died in 1983 he was down to 798 lb. (362 kg).
Heaviest woman Rosalie Bradford (USA) is claimed to have registered a peak weight of 1,190 lb. (540 kg) in January, 1987. In August of that year, she developed congestive heart failure and was rushed to the hospital. She was consequently put on a carefully controlled diet and by February, 1994 weighed 283 lb. (128 kg).
Greatest weight differential between a married couple Weighing 1,400 lb. (635 kg), Jon Brower Minnoch (USA) married his 110 lb. (50-kg) wife Jeannette (USA) in March, 1978. Their weight difference was 1,290 lb. (585 kg)--the greatest for a married couple.
Most variable stature At the age of 21 in 1920, Adam Rainer (Austria) measured 3 ft. 10.5 in. (1.18 m). He then had a rapid growth spurt and by 1931 had reached 7 ft. 1.75 in. (2.18 m). As a result, he became so weak that he was bedridden for the rest of his life. When he died in 1950, he measured 7 ft. 8 in. (2.34 m). He remains the only person to have been both a dwarf and a giant.
Shortest man ever The shortest mature human of whom there is independent evidence was Gul Mohammed (India). On July 19, 1990, he was examined at Ram Manohar Hospital, New Delhi, India, and found to be 22.5 in. (57 cm) tall.
Shortest woman The shortest ever female was Pauline Musters (Netherlands). Born on February 26, 1876, she measured 12 in. (30 cm) at birth. At nine years of age she was 21.5 in. (55 cm) tall and weighed only 3 lb. 5 oz. (1.5 kg). She died of pneumonia with meningitis on March 1, 1895 in New York City, USA, at the age of 19. A post-mortem examination showed her to be exactly 24 in. (61 cm)--there was some elongation after death.
The shortest living woman is Madge Bester (South Africa), who is only 25.5 in. (65 cm) tall. She suffers from osteogenesis imperfecta (characterized by brittle bones and other deformities of the skeleton) and is confined to a wheelchair. Her mother Winnie is not much taller, measuring 27.5 in. (70 cm), and is also confined to a wheelchair.
Tallest woman Zeng Jinlian (China) of Yujiang village in the Bright Moon Commune, Hunan Province, was 8 ft. 1.75 in. (2.48 m) when she died aged 17 years 232 days on February 13, 1982.
The tallest living woman is Sandy Allen (USA, b. June 18, 1955), who when last measured was 7 ft. 7.25 in. (2.317 m) tall. She stood 6 ft. 3 in. (1.905 m) by the age of 10 and was 7 ft. 1 in. (2.16 m) tall by 16.
Tallest man The tallest man in history for whom there is evidence is Robert Pershing Wadlow (USA, 1918-40) who, when last measured on June 27, 1940, was found to be 8 ft. 11.1 in. (2.72 m) tall. His amazing height was the result of an overactive pituitary gland, which oversupplied his body with growth hormone.
Longest fingernails The combined measurement of the five nails on the left hand of Shridhar Chillal (India) was 20 ft. 2.25 in. (6.15 m) on July 8, 1998, when they were measured on the set of Guinness World Records: Primetime, Los Angeles, California, USA. His thumbnail was the longest, measuring 56 in. (1.42 m). The longest fingernails on a woman belong to Lee Redmond (USA). They measure a total length of 29 ft. 9 in. (6 m 62.94 cm). The longest nail is on her left thumb and measures 2 ft. 3 in. (68.58 cm).
Largest ever feet Robert Wadlow (USA), the tallest man ever, wore US size 37AA shoes (UK size 36), equivalent to 18.5 in. (47 cm) long. He died after attending a promotional march for Peter Shoes Company, the suppliers of his shoes. An infected blister on his left foot led to infection, and he died in his sleep on July 15, 1940.
Longest moustache Kalyan Ramji Sain (India) has been growing his moustache since 1976, and by July 1993, it had reached a span of 11 ft. 1 in. (3.39 m). The right side measured 5 ft. 7 in. (1.72 m) and the left side 5 ft. 6 in. (1.67 m).
Largest hands Robert Wadlow (USA), famously the tallest man ever, had hands that measured 12.75 in. (32.3 cm) from the wrist to the tip of his middle finger.
Largest natural breasts Annie Hawkins-Turner (USA) has an under-breast measurement of 43 in. (109.22 cm) and an around-chest-over-nipple measurement of 70 in. (177.8 cm). She currently wears a US size 52I bra, the largest available to buy, but by American bra estimation, her measurements would put her in a 48V bra, which is not a manufactured size.
Longest hair The world's longest documented hair belonged to Hoo Sateow (Thailand), a tribal medicine man from the village of Muang Nga, Chang Mai, Thailand. On November 21, 1997, his hair was unraveled and officially measured at 16 ft. 11 in. (5.15 m) long. He stopped cutting his hair in 1929, believing that his long locks held the key to his healing powers.
Longest tongue Stephen Taylor's (UK) tongue measures 3.7 in. (9.4 cm) from the tip to the center of his closed top lip. It was measured at Westwood Medical Centre, Coventry, Warwickshire, UK, on May 29, 2002.
Most common cause of sudden death Coronary heart disease is the most common cause of sudden death. The main factors that put an individual at risk of the disease are cigarette smoking, high blood pressure, and high levels of cholesterol.
Most common infectious disease The common cold, caused by a group of rhinoviruses, of which there are at least 180 types, affects almost everyone on Earth, except for those living in small isolated communities or in the frozen wastes of Antarctica. There are at least 40 different viruses, either airborne or transmitted by direct contact, which cause symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, sore throat, running eyes and nose, headache, and mild fever.
Most teeth at birth The first deciduous or milk teeth--the upper and lower jaw first incisors--normally appear in infants at 5-8 months. There are many recorded examples of children born with teeth. Sean Keaney (UK) was born on April 10, 1990 with 12 teeth. They were extracted to prevent possible feeding problems, and he grew his second full set of teeth at 18 months. Molars usually appear at 24 months, but in a case recorded in Denmark in 1970, a six-week premature baby was documented with eight teeth at birth, with four in the molar region.
Largest tumor at birth The largest tumor ever recorded at birth weighed 11 oz. (311 g) and was pressing against the windpipe of Ryan James Shannon (USA). He was born seven weeks early by Caesarean section on January 2, 1996 and weighed 6 lb. 2 oz. (2.8 kg). The tumor weighed 10% of his body weight. An operation to remove the growth was carried out nine days after the birth. The procedure lasted four hours and was a complete success.
Largest tumor ever operated An ovarian cyst estimated to weigh 328 lb. (148.7 kg) was drained during the week prior to surgical removal of the cyst shell, in Texas, USA, in 1905 by Dr. Arthur Spohn (USA). The patient recovered fully.
Most sarcomas excised from a patient From 1977 to 2001 a total of 1,674 sarcomas were excised under local anesthetic from the skin of a British male patient by Dr. Cecil Weintraub (South Africa). Sarcomas are malign tumors of the supporting tissues of the body. They can occur in blood vessels, muscle, fat, or in any of the other tissues that support, surround, and protect the organs of the body.
Longest cardiac arrest The longest cardiac arrest lasted four hours in the case of fisherman Jan Egil Refsdahl (Norway), who fell overboard off Bergen, Norway, on December 7, 1987. He was rushed to Haukeland Hospital after his body temperature fell to 75¡F (24¡C), and his heart stopped. He made a full recovery after being connected to a heart-lung machine.
Longest heart stoppage The longest recorded heart stoppage is a minimum of 3 hr. 40 min. in the case of Jean Jawbone (Canada) who, at the age of 20, was revived by a team of 26 medical staff using peritoneal dialysis in the Health Sciences Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, on January 8, 1977.
Longest survival with the heart outside the body Christopher Wall (USA, b. August 19, 1975) is the longest known survivor of the condition ectopia cordis, where the heart lies outside the body. The mortality rate is high, with most patients not living beyond 48 hours. He currently works for a construction tubing company in Philadelphia, USA.
Longest coma Elaine Esposito (USA) never regained consciousness after undergoing an appendectomy on August 6, 1941, at age six. She died on November 25, 1978, at the age of 43 years 357 days. She had been in a coma for 37 years 111 days.
Longest time survived without a pulse The longest time a human has survived without a pulse in their vascular system is three days. Julie Mills (UK) was at the point of death due to severe heart failure and viral myocarditus when, on August 14, 1998, cardiac surgeons at The John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, UK, used a non-pulsatile blood pump (AB180) to support her for one week, during which time her heart recovered, and the pump was removed.
Lowest heart rate The lowest resting heart beat on record is 28 bpm (beats per minute) and belongs to the cyclist Miguel Indura in (Spain) who was tested at the University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain, in 1995. The average resting heart rate is 66-72 bpm, with most athletes having 40 bpm. Indur?in also has a lung capacity of 14 pints (8 liters) and a heart capable of pumping 88 pints (50 liters) of blood per minute--double that of a normal healthy man.
Lowest body temperature The lowest authenticated body temperature is 57.5¡F (14.2¡C) (rectal temperature) for Karlee Kosolofski (Canada) then age two, on February 23, 1994. She had accidentally been locked outside her home for six hours in a temperature of -8¡F (-22¡C). Despite severe frostbite, which meant the amputation of her left leg above the knee, she made a full recovery.
Highest body temperature Willie Jones (USA) was admitted to Grady Memorial Hospital, Atlanta, Georgia, USA, with heatstroke on July 10, 1980, a day when the temperature reached 90¡F (32.2¡C) with 44% humidity. Jones's temperature was found to be 115.7¡F (46.5¡C); he was discharged after 24 days.
Highest blood alcohol level The University of California Medical School, Los Angeles, USA, reported in December, 1982 the case of a confused but conscious 24-year-old female who was shown to have a blood alcohol level of 1,510 mg per 100 ml of blood. This is triple the normal lethal limit. The US driving limit is 0.08% of alcohol per 100 ml of blood.
Highest blood sugar level Twelve-year-old Michael Dougherty (USA) had a blood sugar level 19 times above average at 2,350 while still conscious on November 21, 1995. The normal blood sugar range is between 80 and 120.
Most artificial joints Anne Davison (UK) had 12 major joints (both shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, and ankles) and three knuckles replaced by the age of 47. Diagnosed with arthritis at the age of 13, the first joint that Anne had replaced was her right knee, at the age of 27. The record is shared with Charles N. Wedde (USA), who has rheumatoid arthritis, and also had 12 major joints replaced, between 1979 and 1995.
Longest attack of hiccups Charles Osborne (USA) began hiccuping in 1922 while attempting to weigh a hog before slaughtering it. He was unable to find a cure but led a normal life in which he had two wives and fathered eight children. He continued hiccuping until one morning in February, 1990, 68 years later.
Longest sneezing fit The longest recorded sneezing fit is that of Donna Griffiths (UK). She began sneezing on January 13, 1981 and sneezed an estimated one million times in the first 365 days. Her first sneeze-free day came 978 days later on September 16, 1983.
Fastest sneeze The highest speed at which expelled particles from a sneeze have been measured to travel is 103.6 mph (167 km/h).
Loudest snoring KOEre Walkert (Sweden), who suffers from the breathing disorder apnea, recorded peak snoring levels of 93 decibels on May 24, 1993.
BIRTH & LIFE
Most prolific mother ever The greatest recorded number of children born to one mother is 69, to the first wife of Feodor Vassilyev (Russia). In 27 pregnancies between 1725 and 1765 she gave birth to 16 pairs of twins,
7 sets of triplets, and 4 sets of quadruplets. Only two of the children failed to survive their infancy. The mother also holds the records for giving birth to the most sets of twins and the most sets of quadruplets.
Longest family tree The lineage of K'ung Ch'iu or Confucius (China, 551-479 bc) can be traced back farther than that of any other family. His great-great-great-great-grandfather Kung Chia is known from the 8th century bc. Kung Chia has 86 lineal descendants.
Greatest number of descendants In polygamous countries, the number of a person's descendants can be incalculable. Moulay Ismail, the last Sharifian Emperor of Morocco, was reputed to have fathered a total of 525 sons and 342 daughters by 1703, and achieved a 700th son by 1721. The most recorded living descendants of a monogamous person, however, is 824, by Samuel S. Mast (USA). At the time of his death on October 15, 1992 at age 96, he had 11 children, 97 grandchildren, 634 great-grandchildren, and 82 great-great-grandchildren.
Most children delivered at a single birth The highest medically recorded number of children born at a single birth is nine to Geraldine Brodrick (Australia) at the Royal Hospital for Women, Sydney, NSW, Australia, on June 13, 1971. None of the children (five boys [two stillborn] and four girls) lived for more than six days.
Longest interval between births The longest interval between the birth of two children to the same mother is 41 years for Elizabeth Ann Buttle (UK), who had a daughter, Belinda, in 1956 and a son, Joseph, on November 20, 1997.
Most premature baby to survive James Elgin Gill was born to Brenda and James Gill (both Canada) on May 20, 1987 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, 128 days premature and weighing 1 lb. 6 oz. (624 g). The normal human gestation period is 280 days (40 weeks). Much of James's body was still developing, including his skin, hands, ears, and feet, with his eyes still fused shut. James survived and is now a healthy teenager.Copyright© 2004 by Claire Folkard
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