Volume 26 Number 2



By Frank Hubbell, DO



There are quite a few foods that we commonly eat that contain potentially lethal toxins. Fortunately, they are in trace quantities, and our liver is generally able to detoxify them before they can cause us any harm.



One particular toxin that is found in a variety of foods is amygdalin, a cyanogenic glycoside that is metabolized into hydrogen cyanide (HCN). Egads! CYANIDE– that could kill you!




Cyanide can be found in the following seeds and foods:


Apple seeds                            Cherry pits


Peach pits                              Apricot pits


Plums                                       Pears


Almonds                                Lima beans


Nectarines                            Barley


Cabbage                                Sorghum


Broccoli                                Cauliflower


Flaxseed                                Bamboo


White Clover


Cassava root = tapioca, manioc, yuca



The questions are where does the cyanide come from, and why it is in these seeds, fruits, or vegetables?



Some plants have the ability to fix nitrogen to carbon with a triple bond, making hydrogen cyanide = HCN, one hydrogen atom, one carbon atom, and one nitrogen atom.  Of course at this point, you’re wondering why aren’t all plants potentially cyanide carriers.  The plants have to have the enzymes necessary to carry out these chemical reactions and it has to be able to store the hydrogen cyanide without harming itself.


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Witches Weeds

May/June 2011  ISSN-1059-6518  Volume 24 Number 3

By Frank Hubbell, DO


While on a recent trip to a Caribbean island, I couldn’t help but notice the amount of highly toxic, hallucinogenic plants growing along the roadways. Most were in full bloom, bearing fruit, and seeds. A little on-line research quickly established exactly how common the problems are with these remarkably poisonous plants, and that severe illness and death were not unusual.

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The previous edition of the WMN gave a detailed review of neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, brain mapping by neuronal activity, neurologic deficits, and the neurological exam. This edition will explore and review the various etiologies of changes in levels of consciousness (LOC), their recognition, emergent treatment, and management in the extended care environment.

May/June 2004   ISSN-1059-6518   Volume 17, Number 3

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Change in Level of Consciousness

When an individual presents with a changing or deteriorating level of consciousness, it can be one of the most disconcerting and challenging aspects of providing emergency care.

In urban emergency care, the standard is to maintain the airway, place the patient in a safe position, give oxygen, transport immediately, and do your best to try to find out why they have a deteriorating level of consciousness. Most likely the patient will not deteriorate much more in the intervening minutes until arrival at the emergency department. This is one of the few areas where there may not be a lot that can be done in the prehospital setting, but early recognition and rapid transport can and will save brain cells.


March/April 2004   ISSN-1059-6518   Volume 17, Number 2

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