Navigation Links
Study finds homicidal poisoning rising, more likely in infants and elderly
Date:5/7/2009

Athens, Ga. Homicidal poisonings are rare but on the riseand infants are the most common victimsaccording to a new University of Georgia study that aims to raise awareness of this often overlooked crime.

Greene Shepherd, clinical professor in the UGA College of Pharmacy, and recent graduate Brian Ferslew examined seven years of recent federal mortality data and identified 523 deaths due to homicidal poisoninga figure that corresponds to a rate of 0.26 poisonings per million people. The study found that although poisonings account for less than one percent of all homicides, they appear to be on the rise. The study documented a low of 0.20 cases per million in 2000 and a high of 0.35 in 2004. In 2005, the last year for which data is available, the rate was 0.3 per million people.

"Homicidal poisoning is rare relative to a lot of other causes of death, but the numbers are trending higher," said Shepherd, whose results appear in the May issue of the journal Clinical Toxicology. "We may never know the true incidence because some cases undoubtedly evade detection and classification."

Shepherd is a former poison control center director who had heard several anecdotal accounts of homicidal poisonings but found very little data on their incidence. Because such data is a critical starting point for efforts to reduce the risk of poisonings, he and Ferslew began combing through data compiled by the National Center for Health Statistics.

While books and television dramas often portray homicidal poisoning as a premeditated crime committed against adults, the researchers found that infants are the most common victims. Children less than one year old are approximately nine times more likely to be victims than the general population, the study found. Shepherd said that rather than being premeditated acts, the majority of these poisonings are likely negligent homicides committed by parents or caretakers.

"Anyone who has been a new parent knows about the long hours and the stress of an inconsolable child," Shepherd says. "In some cases people make bad decisions and try to sedate their children with medication or alcohol. I think there's a role for pharmacists and other health care workers to better educate new parents about the inappropriateness of sedating newborns."

Further analysis by race found that African-American infantswho are 21 times more likely to be victims than the general populationare most at risk. Shepherd said this increased risk among African Americans is "a tragic result of socioeconomic status," as stressful situations and poor coping skills are more common in young parents lacking family support and economic stability.

The study found that older adults also had a significantly higher rate of poisoning than the general population. Older adults who require institutional or home care are particularly susceptible to abuse, Shepherd said, and are at risk of being administered excessive doses of sedatives or other medications.

The study also found that drugs, medications and other biological substances accounted for 65 percent of the poisonings during the 1999 to 2005 study period, while assault by gasses and vapor accounted for 28 percent of poisonings. The remaining seven percent of assaults involved other chemicals, corrosive substances or pesticides.

"Though rare, these crimes do happen," Shepherd said. "Now that we've identified at-risk populations, we have the potential to raise awareness and possibly save lives."


'/>"/>

Contact: Sam Fahmy
sfahmy@uga.edu
706-542-5361
University of Georgia
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Childhood obesity indicates greater risk of school absenteeism, Penn study reveals
2. A study by the MUHC and McGill University opens a new door to understanding cancer
3. Study begins to reveal clues to the cause and progression of sepsis
4. Clones on task serve greater good, evolutionary study shows
5. New study warns limited carbon market puts 20 percent of tropical forest at risk
6. New study examines how rearing environment can alter navigation
7. Study links cat disease to flame retardants in furniture and to pet food
8. New continent and species discovered in Atlantic study
9. Study shows link between alcohol consumption and hiv disease progression
10. Feeling hot, hot, hot: New study suggests ways to control fever-induced seizures
11. Study finds environmental tests help predict hospital-acquired Legionnaires disease risk
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/3/2016)... Lithuania , May 3, 2016  Neurotechnology, ... released the MegaMatcher Automated Biometric Identification System ... of large-scale multi-biometric projects. MegaMatcher ABIS can process ... accuracy using any combination of fingerprint, face or ... MegaMatcher SDK and MegaMatcher Accelerator ...
(Date:4/19/2016)... UAE, April 20, 2016 The ... as a compact web-based "all-in-one" system solution for all ... fingerprint reader or the door interface with integration authorization ... access control systems. The minimal dimensions of the access ... into the building installations offer considerable freedom of design ...
(Date:3/31/2016)... 31, 2016   ... the "Company") LegacyXChange is excited to release ... soon to be launched online site for trading 100% ... ) will also provide potential shareholders a sense of ... to an industry that is notorious for fraud. The ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... NEW YORK , June 23, 2016 ... the trading session at 4,833.32, down 0.22%; the Dow Jones ... the S&P 500 closed at 2,085.45, down 0.17%. Stock-Callers.com has ... INFI ), Nektar Therapeutics (NASDAQ: NKTR ... BIND Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: BIND ). Learn more ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Regulatory Compliance Associates® Inc. ... a free webinar on Performing Quality Investigations: Getting to Root Cause. ... at no charge. , Incomplete investigations are still a major concern to the ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 22, 2016  Amgen (NASDAQ: ... the QB3@953 life sciences incubator to accelerate ... The shared laboratory space at QB3@953 was created to ... key obstacle for many early stage organizations - access ... the sponsorship, Amgen launched two "Amgen Golden Ticket" awards, ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... DIEGO , June 22, 2016 ... that will allow them to produce up to ... from one lot within one week. These high-quality, ... time laboriously preparing cells and spend more time ... possible through a proprietary, high-volume manufacturing process that ...
Breaking Biology Technology: