Archive for February 2011

What toxin causes a patient to spontaneously combust?

February 28, 2011, 5:07 pm

★★★½☆

Spontaneous Ignition Due to Intentional Acute Aluminum Phosphide Poisoning. Shadnia S, Soltaninejad K. J Emerg Med February 2011;40:179-181.

Abstract

The pesticide aluminum phosphide (AlP) is a common agent used for suicide in developing countries.  AlP is a strong gastric irritant, causing severe vomiting and abdominal distress. Phosphine — a colorless, flammable, highly toxic gas — is formed when AlP comes …

Read More »

Make the diagnosis, Sherlock!

February 27, 2011, 11:45 pm

Life in the Fast Lane recently posted a neat clinical challenge featuring a young man with abnormal liver enzymes. Light up your meerschaum and see if you can make the diagnosis.…

Read More »

Verapamil overdose and lipid emulsion therapy: a case report

February 26, 2011, 3:43 pm

★★☆☆☆

Lipid Emulsion Therapy for Verapamil Overdose. Franxman TJ et al. Ann Intern Med 15 February 2011;154:292.

No abstract available

This letter to the editor really does not add much to the clinical literature regarding use of lipid emulsion therapy (LET) to treat calcium channel blocker overdose.  The letter describes a 39-year-old woman who ingests 17 tables of sustained-release verapamil (240 …

Read More »

Firecracker ingestion and white phosphorus poisoning

February 24, 2011, 10:06 pm

★★★☆☆

White phosphorus poisoning by oral ingestion of firecrackers or little devils: Current experience in Ecuador. Gonzalez-Andrade F, Lopez-Pulles R. Clin Toxicol 2011;49:29-33.

Abstract

This paper comes from Ecuador, where illegal “little devil” firecrackers (diablillos) — contain highly toxic white phosphorus (WP) — are frequently ingested in suicide attempts.  The authors report on 85 cases of ingestion of these …

Read More »

Cobra Violation: snake venom as a substance of abuse

February 23, 2011, 9:30 pm

★★★☆☆

Snake Bite as a Novel Form of Substance Abuse: Personality Profiles and Cultural Perspectives. Katshu MZUH et al. Substance Abuse 2011;32:43-46.

Full Text

This intriguing article describes two patients in India who subjected themselves voluntarily to being bitten by snakes as a way of getting high.  Both patients had long histories of substance abuse, including opioids.

The first patient, a …

Read More »

Sex! Jealousy! Poison! (continued)

February 23, 2011, 5:52 pm

In Slate today, the brilliant Dahlia Lithwick — their legal correspondent and one of my very favorite writers on any topic — reports on the oral arguments in the U.S. Supreme Court case we discussed yesterday: Bond v. United States, the one  involving  purported chemical weapons, sex, jealousy, revenge, an injured thumb,  and states rights. (You can’t make this …

Read More »

Sex! Jealousy! Poison!: Welcome to the Supreme Court of the United States

February 22, 2011, 10:50 pm

The Supreme Court of the United States today heard oral arguments in a legally interesting case that also involves jealousy, marital infidelity, and poisoning.  Here are the facts: Carol Bond, a Pennsylvania resident, became upset upon learning that her best friend, Myrlinda Haynes, had carried on an affair with Bond’s husband Clifford and had become pregnant with his child.  In …

Read More »

Does ecstasy cause long-term cognitive dysfunction?

February 21, 2011, 9:02 pm

★★★½☆

Residual neurocognitive features of long-term ecstasy users with minimal exposure to other drugs. Halpern JH et al. Addiction. 2010 Oct 26. doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2010.03252.x. [Epub ahead of print]

Abstract

Unaccustomed as I am to borrowing phrases from Sarah Palin, I’d have to say that the “lame stream” media (and the blogosphere) got the story about this paper all wrong.  Bear …

Read More »

Tox Tunes #42: Got to Give it Up (Thin Lizzy)

February 20, 2011, 11:12 pm

Earlier this month, Gary Moore — who since the 1970s has had several stints as guitarist in the band Thin Lizzy — was found dead in his hotel room on Spain’s Costa del Sol. The Sun (U.K.) reported that he had choked on his own vomit after a drinking binge. Other reports say he suffered a heart attack. …

Read More »