Dr Jenna Moccia joins us to talk nightshade, strychnine, curare, arsenic, ricin, cyanide, botulinum, chemotherapy, the 1858 Bradford Sweets poisonings, the 1971 Iraq mercury grain poisonin, plus the largest mass poisoning of a population in history. Part 1 of 2.

Music: “Life or Death” by Jack Beaver

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  • Karen

    This is perhaps the mercury incident being referred to:
    http://www.nytimes.com/1998/01/24/us/teen-agers-vandalism-leads-to-mercury-crisis.html

    • Toren

      Thanks! I tried to find it while I was editing but you clearly have superior powers!

  • zuzu

    Dr. Jenna already covered limp baby syndrome in the bacteria episode. but I liked this one 🙂
    I can picture the strychnine convulsions so vividly I feel slightly ill.

  • Kris

    I’m sharing this with my friends so they stop badgering me about “toxins” when I refuse to eat organic food.

  • Arthwollipot

    “Hippo crates”? Please tell me you used the Bill & Ted pronunciation just for humour!

  • Derek

    The Strychnine segment reminded me of ergot poisoning, but I won’t say more in case you cover it in part two.

    Btw, Dr Jenna said that one molecule of (buggrit! Can’t remember) could destroy 1500 ribosomes every minute in human cells. How many ribosomes does each human cell have? Could the molecule rack up that many all in one cell?

    Coincidentally and sadly a friend of mine’s nephew was just diagnosed with Skeletal Muscular Atrophy, which also results in Pot Noodle Baby Syndrome. Poor little bugger and his parents. He’s about six weeks old, so at least he’s probably not aware of much.

    Very interesting episode, guys, and welcome back to Dr Jenna – it’s always wonderful to hear your voice. 🙂

    And well done on the fundraiser too! 😉

    • Toren

      We actually mentioned ergot poisoning in Poison (episode 5 I think?) but we’ll probably give it another mention in the Witchcraft episode when we get around to that.

      • Derek

        I’ll go back and have a listen, thanks – it’s been a while since I heard that one. The symptoms just reminded me of what I’d heard about the Salem Witch Trials, so I figured I’d mention it. Can’t wait for the next ep. 🙂

  • Fleda

    This might be the clipping ;Dr. Moccia referred to. It has a folksier feel than the NY Times article: http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1336&dat=19980110&id=qgQrAAAAIBAJ&sjid=lfEDAAAAIBAJ&pg=5475,5882373

  • MikeD

    Great episode as always.

    The reason aresenic effects ATP (Adenosine triphosphate) is because Arsenic is directly below phosphate on the periodic table and has a very similar electron structure. The body can’t distinguish between the two allowing it easy uptake and substitution for the phosphate atoms.