Pop Quiz: Tox in the News 2014

January 6, 2015, 1:14 pm


2014 was quite an interesting year for toxicology stories in the news. There was the bizarre death of a chef in China’s Guangdong province, the discovery that a chemical warfare agent may be commonly found in swimming pools, the case of multiorgan failure after playing a video game . . . and that’s not even including the crowning of the …

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Tetrodotoxin poisoning from dried “globefish”

January 5, 2015, 8:19 pm

Lagocephalus lunaris (dried  fillets)

Lagocephalus lunaris (dried fillets)


Tetrodotoxin Poisoning Outbreak from Imported Dried Puffer Fish — Minneapolis, Minnesota, 2014. Cole JB et al. MMWR 2015 Jan 2;63;1222-1225.

Full Text

This report presents 2 cases of tetrodotoxin poisoning seen at Hennepin County Medical Center in June, 2014.

The patients, a 30-year-old man and his 33-year-old sister, both presented with symptoms typical of puffer fish …

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The 5th Annual Alexander Awards: The Best Tox Reading of 2014

January 2, 2015, 3:21 pm


Alexander Gettler

The distinguished Alexander Awards go to the best writings related to toxicology topics that have appeared in the previous year. To be eligible to win an Alexander, an article or paper must be freely available on the web, not locked up behind some paywall or subject to restricted access. The awards are named for Alexander Gettler (1883-1968,) the …

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Death after injecting alpha-PVP

December 31, 2014, 3:22 am

smokin slurries scrubba★★★☆☆

Death due to intravenous use of α-pyrrolidinopentiophenone. Sellors K et al. Med J Aust 2014 Nov 17;201:601-3.

Full Text 

α-pyrrolidinopentiophenone (α-PVP) is a synthetic cathinone stimulant with structural similarities to MDPV. Like MDPV, α-PVP contains a pyrrolidine ring, a 5-sided nitrogen-containing component that enables the molecule to effectively block reuptake of dopamine and norepinephrine, with much weaker effects at …

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Nicotine poisoning from an asparagus look-alike

December 29, 2014, 8:15 pm

Baptisia australis

Baptisia australis


Baptisia poisoning : A New and Toxic Look-alike in the Neighborhood. Anderson MJ et al. J Emerg Med 2015 Jan;48:39-42.


Bastisia australis (blue wild indigo, false indigo) is a prairie plant found throughout the eastern, midwestern, and southern United States. It contains cytisine, an alkaloid that acts as an agonist at nicotinic acetylcholine receptors.…

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Deaths and severe toxicity at an electronic dance-music festival in NYC

December 23, 2014, 4:33 pm

ecstasy pills

ecstasy pills


Illnesses and Deaths Among Persons Attending an Electronic Dance-Music Festival — New York City, 2013. Ridpath A et al MMWR 2014 Dec 19;63:1195-1198.

Full Text

When we last reported on the deaths of 2 young people at the New York City’s Electric Zoo Festival in 2013, the investigation into these incidents had just begun and the results …

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Tox Tunes #91: I Can’t Stand It (Memphis Jug Band)

December 22, 2014, 12:29 am

What are you gonna do when your troubles get like mine
Take a mouthful of sugar and drink a bottle of turpentine

The Memphis Jug Band recorded in the 1920s and 1930s with an ever-changing lineup of musicians and instruments, usually including a liquor jug to provide the bass line. The 1960s blues-rock band Canned Heat obviously borrowed from this …

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Saturday with SMACC: Scott Weingart on Cutting Edge Intra-Arrest Care

December 20, 2014, 3:03 pm

The main theme of this extremely thought-provoking talk by Scott Weingart (@emcrit) is that CPR should not be limited to the cookbook algorithms taught in the American Heart Association’s ACLS course. Scott argues that ACLS teaches what can be done easily, not necessarily what’s needed to achieve an optimal outcome. He covers everything from the laryngeal mask airway to …

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Surely the NEJM could do a better review of delirium tremens

December 17, 2014, 10:25 pm


Recognition and Management of Withdrawal Delirium (Delirium Tremens). Schuckit MA. N Engl J Med 2014 Nov 27;371:2109-2113.

No abstract available

This is an amazingly inept paper, even by the traditionally low standards of the New England Journal‘s  “Review Article” section. It was written by a psychiatrist who — on the basis of this piece — seems not to …

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