Saturday, March 07, 2009

"staggers" or trematol poisoning

cf Loren Rolak, Neurology Secrets p. 410.

This disease suffered by Mary Lincoln, Abe's mother, was due to a toxin the white snakeroot plant which grows in dense woods and occurred when a woods was insufficiently cleared. It has not been described in over 60 years. Typically, cows would eat the snakeroot, and humans would drink the milk "milk sickness."

Presentation in Mrs. Lincoln included fatigue and stiffness, then whole body tremors, upper more than lower extremities, present at rest and resembling a shiver, leading over days to epigastric pain, nausea and vomiting. Eventually, lethargy, large pupils and hiccups occurred. She developed lethargy and large red tongue and eventually died.

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