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Toxicological Quackery Part 2

Posted: June 26th, 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Some  MORE Medical Treatments to Avoid like the Plague!

We hope you enjoyed our Toxicological Quackery Part 1 blog posted earlier this month.  In Part 2 we will continue by giving more procedures that you should definitely avoid due to potential for serious injury.

1.  LAETRILE (Vitamin B-17 or amygdalin)

Amygdalin is a chemical derived from various pits and seeds such as from the apricots, peaches, applea, cherries etc.  For many years this chemical has been reported to prevent and treat various cancers as well as AIDS, arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and multiple sclerosis. Read more »


Meet the IPC Experts – Finale!!

Posted: March 27th, 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »

We’ve come to the final segment of our four-part “Meet the IPC Expert” series. Our staff of experts answered over 86,000 calls from the general public and healthcare professionals in Illinois last year. In their own words, learn about their professional background, favorite parts of the job, most interesting cases, and even learn what they enjoy doing outside the poison center. These interviews are interesting, sincere, personal and at times, a bit humorous! We invite you to get to know your poison center experts… Read more »


Teaching, Treating, and Problem Solving Poisonings

Posted: February 8th, 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

…A Unique Medical Partnership: Toxikon and the Illinois Poison Center

What happens if:

  • Someone is stung by a lionfish?
  • Eats a poisonous mushroom in the forest preserve?
  • Drinks a Lava Lamp?
  • Swallows too many iron pills?
  • These are all examples of problems that the partnership of the Illinois Poison Center (IPC) and the Toxikon Consortium have handled.  Toxikon, based at Cook County’s Stroger Hospital is a partnership with the University of Illinois and the IPC. Read more »


    The Illinois Poison Center – Literally a “SPI’s Nest” of Activity

    Posted: January 24th, 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

    No, the Illinois Poison Center (IPC) is not a clandestine arm of the CIA, FBI, or KGB. However, it is staffed by a team of well qualified “SPIs” around the clock.  So, what exactly is a SPI you ask? Read more »


    Do the Math: Back to School Statistics

    Posted: August 23rd, 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

    23 percent of teens report taking prescription pain relievers not prescribed to them.

    As a medical toxicologist, I see the effects of prescription pain medication abuse in teens and young adults on a daily basis. As a parent of a 10 and 12 year old, I worry about their future, peer pressure, and possibly their own involvement with medication abuse in junior high and high school.

    Prescription drug abuse, especially narcotic medications, continues to be an ongoing and increasing problem in the U.S. Read more »


    What’s in a name?

    Posted: May 17th, 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

    That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.

    Evolving technology, demographics, and regulatory changes are all expanding the type and scope of services that Poison Control Centers have historically provided.  A few weeks ago, I wrote about the limitations of the Mr. Yuk logo; we are not “just the place that Mom’s call” anymore.

    Last year, the IPC received about 36,500 calls on children 5 and under.  We provided triage and treatment recommendations that allowed families to treat a stunning 96% of these kids at home without an expensive or stressful trip to the ER.  Hmmmm, maybe that sounds like the place that mom’s call after all. Read more »


    Where’s the Antidote?!

    Posted: April 19th, 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

    Antidotes are sexy.  We see it in James Bond and Indiana Jones movies:  the hero has been slipped a lethal poison (usually, while wearing a tuxedo) and just in the nick of time swallows a vial of mysterious liquid that allows him to continue to save the day.

    (Watch the poisoning scene in James Bond Casino Royale)

    The word antidote can be described as the opposite or antonym of ‘poison.’  It comes from the Greek word antidoton, meaning ‘to give against’.    A common misconception about antidotes is that every poison has one.   Read more »


    IPC: Providing Toxicology Consults in Illinois

    Posted: March 15th, 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »
    Cardiologist:  a specialist in the structure and function and disorders of the heart
    Neurologist:  a medical specialist in the nervous system and the disorders affecting it
    Nephrologist: a physician who specializes in diseases of the kidneys.
    Medical Toxicologist: a specialist on the care of patients exposed to potentially hazardous or poisonous substances

    The practice of medicine is an increasingly complex academic discipline, and much like raising a family, sometimes it ‘takes a village’ of specialists to provide the best, most timely care available.  Read more »


    Toxicology in a Combat Support Hospital

    Posted: November 9th, 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

    In observance of Veteran’s Day (11/11) we invite you to take a journey into the life of one soldier’s remarkable experience while deployed overseas in Mosul, Iraq.

    Shortly after finishing my fellowship in medical toxicology, I began an active duty commitment with the United States Army.  Within eight months I was deployed to the 47th Combat Support Hospital (CSH, pronounced “cash”) in Mosul, Iraq.  My primary role was an emergency medicine physician, working in the ER caring for soldiers, local nationals, and occasionally insurgents.  Unless injured from combat operations, our CSH didn’t provide medical care for Iraqi civilians.  Occasionally we made exceptions to provide compassionate care for children who needed our help.  As a toxicologist, I didn’t have many cases in Iraq.  There was an occasional scorpion sting but not much else…   

    Life was fairly simple:  take care of patients, exercise, read, sleep- then repeat daily.  We joked that it was like the movie “Groundhog Day,” where every day seemed to be a repeat of the day before.  Frequent incoming mortar fire kept most of us military rookies from sleeping well at night; often feeling on-edge, waiting for the next round of mortars to hit.  Read more »


    Could Grandma Be a Toxicologist ?

    Posted: June 8th, 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

    By Erin Pallasch, PharmD and IPC call center specialist

    We all know that when something really frightening happens to a child, the first person we are most likely to turn to for advice is Grandma.  Whether it is our real grandmother or a friend/relative surrogate grandmother, she is always available with soothing words and the best advice that she has been doling out since we were babies ourselves. But while Grandma always has the best intentions, and is great to help calm us down, is Grandma really a poison specialist? Read more »


    Wow, I Bet You Hear Lot of Interesting Stuff! What Kind of Calls Do You Get?

    Posted: February 9th, 2010 | Tags: , , | No Comments »

    I get asked this a lot when people find out I work for the Illinois Poison Center.  There is an intense fascination with the sorts of things that are called into a poison center.  These questions come in conversation, e-mail and the internet.  As an example, our very first Twitter response was “What is the craziest call you have ever gotten?” Read more »