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December 16, 2004


Topics: International News

CodeBlueBlog reports that It Was a Zebra After All

From CodeBlueBlog's post:
A toxicologist at the Free University in Amsterdam reports tonight that his analysis of Viktor Yushenko's blood reveals:

100,000 units of dioxin per gram of blood fat

And there is widespread talk this may be the highest level ever recorded -- although why that is headline news everywhere is a mystery.

However, toxicologists are baffled -- as was this blog -- as to why any assassin would use Dioxin as a murder weapon. As CodeBlueBlog said, right from the beginning, if we are to assume that there were someone whose intention was to kill Yushchenko, or even disfigure him, in no way could he depend on Dioxin to do either. Said Jean-Francois Narbonne, a professor of toxicology at the University of Bordeaux:

...dioxin -- although a highly dangerous poison that could be administered in tiny amounts -- would not be the assassin's natural weapon of choice

If they wanted to kill him, cyanide or a poison derived from a plant or bacteria would have been far more effective...

When you want to kill someone quickly, you use neurotoxins, substances which attack the tissues of the central nervous system, paralysing the target and stopping respiration and heartbeat.

CodeBlue says that this announcement does not change the way he would approach or diagnose this case  -- nor should it change the way any reader approaches a similar case or any similar situation in life. CodeBlue has more comments worth reading, so Go Read...

In over thirty years of research and development including pre-clinical studies, nothing surprises me anymore. Invariably, I've experienced the right answers to have come more from asking the right questions, then from what I thought to be me providing the right answers to what turned out to be the wrong question.

In reality, CodeBlueBlog was right, at least to the extent the right questions had been asked at the time of his "evaluation" of the case - he did the best he could do with the information at hand. In the end, the toxicologist, having had the opportunity to ask the more complete questions (laboratory diagnostics), it was he that was able to determine that in fact it was a zebra after all.

Posted by Hyscience at December 16, 2004 12:52 AM

re: the alchol theory
the political oppostion (in the form of parliamentary commissions, tv programs etc) in the Ukraine tried to run a similar horse saying that previous state of health was responsible but all they could come up with was Herpes. Surely, given no problem concerning access to anything eg: medical records, media coverage their horse could have run a lot better, if His medical records had been anything like you suggest????

2. wouldn't you need quite a bit of expertise and equipment to dope a blood sample properly in order to get a reasonable result and would there be a detectable difference between a chemical put straight in blood as opposed to going in the "proper" way? and all this in absolute secret since there would be one thing worse then being caught absuing alcohol.....

Posted by: jo at February 7, 2005 2:25 PM

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