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The Journal of Medical Toxicology, the official journal of the American College of Medical
Toxicology, reports in its September issue on a variety of poisonings that represent public
health concerns on an international level.
Phoenix, Arizona (PRWEB) September 30, 2012 -- Poisoning is a public health issue throughout the world,
though the specific poisons that hold the greatest impact vary by country or region. In certain international
communities natural toxins abound, in others man-made toxins are prevalent in the environment, while in some
drugs available for recreational abuse may be the leading problem. The Journal of Medical Toxicology (JMT),
the official journal of the American College of Medical Toxicology (ACMT), provides an international
perspective on poisoning in the September issue, with articles that describe poisonings in countries including
the United States, Iran, and those of the Asia Pacific region, including Thailand.
A U.S. study looking at the influence of drug use on heat stroke found 28% of patients with life-threatening
hyperthermia in whom a urine drug screen was performed to have cocaine or methamphetamine detected in the
urine. Another study described poisonings in infants and toddlers reported to the Toxicology Investigators
Consortium (ToxIC) registry, a database of patients cared for by medical toxicologists in the U.S. While cardiac
and psychiatric medications used by adults accounted for the majority of exposures resulting in hospitalization
in this group, recreational and controlled opioid medications accounted for nearly 10% of exposures.
The journal issue devotes three articles to the topic of substance abuse in the Asia Pacific region. Though
opioids and cannibis remain commonly abused substances in this region, the use of amphetamine-type
stimulants and ketamine are increasing in some parts of Asia. Ketamine, a drug similar to but tamer than
phencyclidine, or PCP, as well as the nonprescription cough suppressant dextromethorphan, are commonly
abused among Thai youth in particular. A separate U.S. case report of psychosis that developed in an adult man
after the use of “bath salts” highlights the potential dangers of this newer class of amphetamine-like stimulant
drugs. The drugs found in bath salts, such as MDPV or mephedrone, have been easily available in the US and
Europe, although regulations to remove them from sale in head shops and retail outlets are rapidly expanding.
Intentional ingestion of poisons for the purpose of self-harm is a world-wide public health problem, and the
agents that are most commonly used are highly reflective of the specific country. A study from Iran investigates
potential mechanisms of toxicity of aluminum phosphide, a pesticide that is readily available there despite
controls and widely associated suicide attempts. The fatality rate following such exposure remains high even
with excellent care. Pesticide poisoning remains the major public health concern of most developing and
agricultural nations. Organophosphorus pesticides lead the list of concerning agents worldwide and many
countries are looking at ways to limit their availability or concentration to reduce the human harm associated
with these important chemicals.
The Journal of Medical Toxicology is an international journal that publishes peer-reviewed scientific literature
online first, with print issues published quarterly. It is the official journal of the ACMT, a professional,
nonprofit association of physicians with recognized expertise in medical toxicology. The College is dedicated
to advancing the science and practice of medical toxicology through a variety of activities.
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American College of Medical Toxicology
Online Web 2.0 Version
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