Archive for June 2010

The dangers of MDMA (ecstasy)

June 16, 2010, 12:10 am


Morbidity associated with MDMA (ecstasy) abuse: A survey of emergency department admissions. Halpern P et al.  Hum Exp Toxicol (OnlineFirst, published May 20, 2010)


Although ecstasy (MDMA) is often thought to be a safe recreational drug by young people who attend “rave” parties, decades of medical literature and clinical experience have proved that belief false — sometimes tragically so.  …

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Tox Tunes #22: Old Rub Alcohol Blues (Dock Boggs)

June 13, 2010, 5:46 pm

If wine and women don’t kill me,
There’s one more plan to find;
Soak up the old rub alcohol,
Ease all troubles off my mind.

“Dock Boggs  . . . sounds as if his bones are coming through his skin every time he opens his mouth” Greil Marcus – The Old, Weird America: The World of Bob Dylan’s Basement Tapes

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It ain’t tox but . . . ED physician blogs about experience being sued

June 12, 2010, 4:50 pm

The emergency medicine blogger Whitecoat has posted a very well written, 24-part blog describing from beginning to end his experience of being named in a malpractice suit. Highly recommended to anyone with an interest in the topic.…

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Ecstasy overdoses: Los Angeles

June 10, 2010, 10:21 pm


Ecstasy Overdoses at a New Year’s Eve Rave — Los Angeles, California, 2010. MMWR June 11, 2010;59(22):677-681.

Full text

This important reports describes the CDC’s investigation into  emergency department visits and hospital admissions for illness related to ecstasy (MDMA) following a New Year’s Eve rave party in Los Angeles.  Approximately 45,000 people attended.  The investigation identified 18 patients who were …

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Botticelli mystery solved — it’s the squirting cucumber!

June 10, 2010, 12:15 pm

Several weeks ago I wrote about the controversy concerning what — if anything —  is being held by the weird satyr in the lower-right corner of Botticelli’s great painting “Venus and Mars”. An art historian from Sotheby’s had claimed that the satyr was clutching Datura stromonium (Jimson Weed), suggesting that the sleeping Mars was not so much post-coital as stoned …

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Dinitrophenol poisoning: a role for early dantrolene?

June 9, 2010, 11:20 am


Fatal 2,4-dinitrophenol poisoning . . . coming to a hospital near you. Siegmueller C, Narasimhaish R. Emerg Med J 2010 May 29 [Epub ahead of print]


Dinitrophenol (DNP) is an industrial chemical used in the manufacture of explosives, herbicides, dyes, and wood preservatives.  When ingested, DNP uncouples mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation, interfering with the cells’ ability to store energy as …

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Adderall Receives Honorary Degree from Harvard

June 8, 2010, 7:28 pm

Laugh-out-loud piece from The Onion.

Tip o’ the hat to DoseNation for the link.…

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Button battery ingestions causing increased fatalities

June 6, 2010, 11:50 pm

[Rating: 5.0] Emerging Battery-Ingestion Hazard: Clinical Implications. Litovitz T et al. Pediatrics June 2010;125:1168-1177. Abstract This must-read article points out that with the growing popularity of 20-mm lithium batteries, the percentage of button battery ingestions involving major outcomes or fatalities is increasing. The authors, from the National Capital Poison Center in Washington, DC, analyzed data from 3 major sources concerning these ingestions. They make the following important points: . . .

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Tox Tunes #21: The Needle and the Damage Done (Neil Young)

June 6, 2010, 10:27 pm

This great song was written in 1971 and powerfully describes how heroin addiction was destroying talented musicians, specifically guitarist Danny Whitten of the band Crazy Horse. Whitten played and sang on some of Young’s best songs, including Cinnamon Girl and Down by the River. In 1972, Young was fired Whitten because his drug use was interfering with his …

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