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    Monday, December 13, 2004

    Ukrainian Medical Mystery: CodeBlueBlog doubts that dioxin is behind Viktor Yushchenko's illness. Here's a description of acute dioxin poisoning which fits Yushchenko's symtpoms to a tee:

    In humans, the acute toxicity of TCDD is known from accidental release due to runaway reactions or explosions. Essentials of diagnosis are: -eye and respiratory irritation, -skin rash, chloracne, -fatigue,nervousness, irritability. A process accident in 1949 was followed by: -acute skin, eye, and respiratory tract irritation, -headache, dizzines, and nausea. These symptoms subsided within 1-2 weeks and were followed by: -acneiform eruption, -severe muscle pain in the extremities, thorax, and shoulders, -fatigue, nervousness, and irritability, -complaints of decreased libido, -intolerance to cold. Workers also exhibited: -severe chloracne, -hepatic enlargement; -peripheral neuritis; -delayed prothrombin time; -increased total serum lipid levels. A follow-up study 30 years later found persistance of chloracne in 55% of the workers.

    Since Yushchenko reportedly ingested the dioxin, the irritation would also be found along the length of his intestinal tract, which is what his doctors reported earlier. Unfortunately, there's not much information out there on acute dioxin ingestion, since it's something that most people try to avoid. Most of the literature deals with either chronic, low-level exposure in the environment or with inhalation exposure from industrial accidents. They do have a very long half-life and tend to accumulate in the fatty tissue, so it isn't all that hard to believe that the Austrians were able to detect it this far out. And when his physician says that it's "out of his system" he could have been referring to his circulatory system. The symptoms of acute toxicity fade away as the dioxin leaves the circulation and gets stored in the fat. But long term complications, such as cancer and birth defects remain very real risks.

    It would be premature to dismiss it, or to cast aspersions on his physician.

    ADDENDUM: As for the possibilty of Yurshchenko having acne rosacea, it's unlikely. Acne rosacea usually has a much slower progression. Yurshchenko's face changed dramatically in just a few months' time - even faster since he didn't have the facial lesions when he first sought treatment in Austria.

    UPDATE: Detailed info on dioxin at RangelMD.

    UPDATE II: More doubts about the poisoning claims, this one with links to European reports of threats against one of Yushchenko's original doctors. (via Solomonia dot com)

    Note: Welcome Instapundit readers. And yes, I corrected my grammatical typo.

    posted by Sydney on 12/13/2004 01:54:00 PM 0 comments


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