What is toxicology?
the study of substances that cause adverse effects in humans or other organisms Who was Mathieu Orfila?
a Spanish-born chemist who published one of the first written works dedicated to the topic of poisons and medications What is strychnine? What symptoms does it cause?
It comes from the seeds of the strychnine tree, and strychnine poisoning can occur through consumption, inhalation, or absorption by mucous membranes. Symptoms are painful cramps and muscle contractions What is percent saturation?
the ratio of hemoglobin that has been combined with carbon monoxide in comparison to hemoglobin that has been combined with oxygen. What is aconite? What symptoms does it produce?
it comes from the aconite plant. It makes your body numb.
Critical Thinking Questions
What characteristics do substances often have that make them attractive as a poison when someone wants to intentionally harm another person?
If they are odorless, colorless, and tasteless.
Describe three different samples that can be used to test for poisons. What are the advantages and disadvantages of these samples? blood, hair, and Organ tissue. Blood is one of the most useful toxicological samples. Hair can provide some indication of past exposure to toxins or poisons. In organ tissue, toxic metals can collect in the tissue telling you that they were present. Why are poisons used less today than they were in the past? What factors influenced this change?
In the past they were harder to detect than today.
In addition to samples taken from a body, what other information or evidence could point to poisoning as the cause of death?
Coloration of the body or things around the body indicating poison intake. What are the challenges for forensic scientists in identifying poisons? First, determining if there was poison involved in the first place, and also, it would be difficult to have to run so many different tests to see which poison it was.
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