The Intersection of Medicine and Forensic Toxicology


Medicine and forensic toxicology are two closely related fields that intersect in the investigation of crimes, accidents, and other incidents involving toxic substances. Forensic toxicology plays a crucial role in determining the presence and effects of drugs, chemicals, and poisons in biological samples. This article explores the connection between medicine and forensic toxicology, highlighting their collaborative efforts in promoting public safety and justice.

medicine and forensic toxicology

Medicine’s Role in Forensic Toxicology

Medicine provides the foundation for forensic toxicology by studying the effects of substances on the human body. Medical knowledge and expertise help forensic toxicologists understand the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of drugs, the physiological impact of toxins, and the interactions between substances and bodily systems. Medical professionals, such as pathologists and forensic physicians, often collaborate with forensic toxicologists to analyze toxicological findings and interpret their significance.

Forensic Toxicology in Criminal Investigations

Forensic toxicology plays a vital role in criminal investigations by identifying and quantifying toxic substances in various samples, including blood, urine, hair, and tissue. Toxicologists utilize sophisticated analytical techniques, such as gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS), to detect and measure drugs, poisons, and their metabolites. This information can provide crucial evidence in cases involving drug overdoses, driving under the influence (DUI), poisoning, and suspicious deaths.

Also Read: Questions on Forensic Toxicology

Medicolegal Autopsies

Medicolegal autopsies, performed by forensic pathologists, combine medical examination with toxicological analysis to determine the cause and manner of death. Toxicologists assist in the autopsy process by collecting samples, analyzing bodily fluids and tissues for toxic substances, and interpreting toxicological findings. This collaboration helps establish a comprehensive understanding of the circumstances surrounding the individual’s death, particularly if it is related to drug toxicity, poisoning, or chemical exposure.

Medication Monitoring and Drug Testing

Forensic toxicology plays a significant role in medication monitoring and drug testing programs. In various contexts, such as workplace drug testing or probation monitoring, toxicologists analyze biological samples to detect the presence of illicit drugs or misuse of prescribed medications. These tests can provide objective evidence of drug use, aiding in treatment programs and legal proceedings and ensuring public safety.

Also Read: MCQs on Forensic Toxicology

Expert Testimony in Legal Proceedings

Forensic toxicologists often serve as expert witnesses in legal proceedings, providing objective and scientifically sound testimony related to toxicological findings. Their expertise is crucial in explaining the effects of drugs or poisons on the human body, interpreting laboratory results, and assisting the court in making informed decisions.


The collaboration between medicine and forensic toxicology plays a crucial role in investigating and understanding the effects of toxic substances on human health and in the legal system. Through their combined efforts, medical professionals and forensic toxicologists contribute to public safety, assist in criminal investigations, and provide expert guidance in legal proceedings. The intersection of medicine and forensic toxicology highlights the importance of a multidisciplinary approach to understanding and addressing issues related to toxic substances in society.


Why Are Girls Reaching Puberty Earlier? via The DALE YEAGER Blog

Diet, Endocrine Disruptors, and the COVID-19 Pandemic are documented in this article.stealing years away from the childhood of young girls

An article by Martha Rosenberg explains the four factors which are directly correlated to early puberty in girls. Three of these: Diet, Endocrine Disruptors, and the COVID-19 Pandemic are documented in this article. But the one I want to focus on is Anxiety and Stress Within the Family. Dale Yeager

The age at which girls are reaching puberty is steadily falling. In 1840, the average girl was 16.5 years when she attained menarche—the onset of menstruation. By 1920, the age had dropped to 14.6; by 1950, it was 13.1; in 1980, 12.5; and 12.43 in 2020. By 2022, the percentage of U.S. girls who reached menarche by age 10 had risen to 10 percent from 7 percent.

By 2010, the average girl reached puberty at the age of 10.5. Not only is the drop in puberty age seen across race/ethnicity groups in the United States, but according to a study in the Journal of Adolescent Health, the same trend toward early puberty has also been reported in England, Israel, China, India, Korea, Ghana, Mexico, and Thailand.

There are many reasons why early onset puberty, also called precocious puberty, matters. Early puberty puts girls at increased risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other cardiovascular diseases, low bone mineral density, gynecological/obstetric, gastrointestinal, musculoskeletal, neuro-cognitive, psychiatric and respiratory disorders, and cancer, according to medical papers. Children with precocious puberty “often stop growing earlier than usual” which can “cause them to be shorter than average as adults,” adds the Mayo clinic. Other scientific publications agree.

There are also psychological ramifications associated with early menarche. “Among adolescent girls, early puberty is associated with more depressive disorders, substance use disorders, eating disorders and disruptive behavior disorders,” according to an American Psychological Association article. Girls are also at increased risk of sexually transmitted diseases.

What Are the Causes of Early Puberty?

Most, if not all, medical professionals agree that the age of menarche is lowering but agreement ends there. There are many theories about the dramatic appearance of early puberty among so many girls, and it’s likely that many of them have a basis in fact and that more than one theory is accurate.


Research published in 2018 in the International Journal of Endocrinology that focused on a cohort of Chinese girls identified clear links between early puberty and diet.

An “unhealthy diet pattern, heavy in desserts and snacks, soft drinks, and fried food, was found to be significantly positively associated with precocious puberty in both boys and girls,” wrote the authors.

“This diet was implicated in the timing of puberty, probably in any of the three ways: high fat intake, high sugar, and obesity due to high-calorie consumption. Consumption of junk food, such as fried foods, had been convincingly linked to obesity and rapid weight gain, a potential predictor of earlier age at menarche and other markers of puberty.”

Certainly, the so-called Western diet has infiltrated countries that once observed local and traditional cuisines.

According to Dr. Robert Lustig, a professor of clinical pediatrics at the University of California–San Francisco’s Benioff Children’s Hospital, “Fatter girls have higher levels of the hormone leptin, which can lead to early puberty, which leads to higher estrogen levels, which leads to greater insulin resistance, causing girls to have yet more fat tissue, more leptin and more estrogen, the cycle feeding on itself, until their bodies physically mature.”

Endocrine Disruptors

Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that mimic and disrupt our hormone functioning and seem to lurk everywhere: in our food packaging, furniture, cleaning products, building materials, drinking water, gardens, cosmetics, and more. How badly have these unwanted chemicals invaded our world? Bisphenol A, a major endocrine disruptor often called BPA, was found in 90 percent of newborn infants tested by the Environmental Working Group along with more than 230 other chemicals!

Sadly, endocrine disruptors aren’t the only likely environmental culprits when it comes to tracing the roots of early puberty. Research published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health also associates metals such as manganese and lead “with the deregulation of the neuroendocrine system, which could potentially favor the appearance of precocious puberty in environmentally exposed children.”

Anxiety and Stress Within the Family

Research published in the journal Emergency Medicine International finds that the role of anxiety in the family system can contribute to early puberty. Girls with early puberty came from poorer households that were characterized by divorces and remarriages, according to the research. Girls whose parents divorced when they were between 3 and 8 years old were at greater risk. Father absenteeism is increasingly seen as a factor in girls who develop early puberty, say scientific papers.

“The absence of a biologically-related father has been shown to accelerate reproductive development,” write authors in the Journal of Adolescent Health. Two decades ago, researchers posited that “when girls encountered familial conditions that were unfavorable for survival (e.g., insecure and unsupportive family relationships), it was adaptive to become reproductively mature earlier. Since then, numerous empirical studies have confirmed that father absence predicts earlier maturation. Girls in father-absent homes are about twice as likely to experience menarche prior to age 12.”

The COVID-19 Pandemic

With its stress, forced isolation, the dominance of electronic communication, and negative effects on sleep and diet, the COVID-19 pandemic increased the occurrence of early puberty.

According to research in the Italian Journal of Pediatrics, “Due to lengthy periods of school closure, restrictions on activities, and changes in diet and sleep patterns, an increase in the frequency of obesity in children is to be expected,” wrote the authors.

“During the lock-down, children were not only out of school, but they also faced severe restrictions to their daily physical routines, and in this period of inactivity, it was inevitable that there would be an increase in screen-time. When all these contributing factors are combined, it is not difficult to predict that the situation could cause rapid weight gain.”

Sure enough, wrote the authors, “the onset of puberty was earlier in the pandemic period compared to the previous year.”

A similar phenomenon of increased early puberty was noted during the pandemic in Korea and in India.

Experts Weigh In

Dr. Jeanne Stolzer, a professor of child and adolescent development at the University of Nebraska, shared her thoughts with The Epoch Times. “I believe the early puberty we are witnessing is probably due to a convergence of variables.  However, I think that researchers need to be looking into two key variables: Screen use and COVID vaccinations. I also believe that lack of sunlight and physical activity may be contributing factors.”

“Although the multifarious effects of melatonin on the human gonadal system are not fully understood at this time, we do know that screen use clearly impacts melatonin levels,” she said. “Data indicates that melatonin affects oxytocin, vasopressin, and a plethora of growth hormones, therefore, early puberty may very well be related to increasing screen time as screen time disrupts the production of melatonin.”

Researchers also need to be looking into the correlation between vaccines and early puberty, observes Stolzer, “as preliminary data suggests that menstrual cycles have been adversely affected by the COVID vaccine. It stands to reason that age of puberty may also be impacted.”

One study, published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice in October, concluded that “COVID-19 infection and vaccination can affect the menstrual cycle in women.”

In a recent paper published in the International Journal of Sociology of the Family, Stolzer wrote, “Despite the scientific data demonstrating the plethora of negative effects associated with screen time, use of screens is increasing exponentially across the globe due in part to the world-wide pandemic.”

Yet, Stolzer laments, “As mounting scientific evidence continues to be published across continents confirming the negative effects associated with screen time, schools – from preschools to universities-are documenting significant increases in student screen time use.”

Stolzer said children “require large amounts of direct sunlight and rigorous outdoor physical activity if optimal development is to occur. As a direct result of the pandemic, access to the outdoors was severely limited in many communities thus hindering developmental processes exponentially.”

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An article by Martha Rosenberg explains the four factors which are directly correlated to early puberty in girls. Three of these: Diet, Endocrine Disruptors, and the COVID-19 Pandemic are documented in this article. But the one I want to focus on is Anxiety and Stress Within the Family. Dale Yeager

Why Are Girls Reaching Puberty Earlier? — The DALE YEAGER Blog

Do Inmates Need Educational Protocols?

ISO 13485
ISO 13485 Medical devices — Quality management systems — Requirements for regulatory purposes is an International Organization for Standardization standard published for the first time in 1996; it represents the requirements for a comprehensive quality management system for the design and manufacture of medical devices.

This standard supersedes earlier documents such as EN 46001 and EN 46002, the previously published ISO 13485, and ISO 13488.

The essentials of validation planning, protocol writing, and change management will be explained.

via ESSENTIALS OF VALIDATION – Do You Really Need It? — Compliance4all

Police find entire family of four dead in Mexican holiday apartment

A family of four was found dead in their holiday apartment while on holiday in Tulum, Mexico, police confirmed.

Kevin Wayne Sharp, 41, his wife Amy Marie Sharp, 38, and their children Sterling Wayne, 12, and Adrianna Marie, 7, were reported missing by their immediate family members early on Friday morning to police in Creston, Iowa.

The Sharps had planned to return to the US on Wednesday, family members said.

Police quickly made contact with the US state department, Creston police said in a statement. A welfare check at the property where the family was believed to be staying led to the discovery of the four bodies.

Autopsies are being performed in Mexico. It is not immediately clear what led to the Sharp family’s deaths, but Creston police chief Paul Ver Meer told KCCI that there were no signs of traumatic injury.

Local Mexican authorities have taken over the investigation, according to the state department. The Mexican Tourism Board said in a statement obtained by CBS that “preliminary reports from local officials conclude that there were no signs of violence or struggle”.

Ashli Peterson, a relative of the Sharps, posted about the family’s disappearance on Facebook on Thursday night, around the time that the family contacted police. The post was shared hundreds of thousands of times. On Friday afternoon, Ms Peterson posted an update.

“Please respect the family at this time as they go through the grieving process,” she wrote. “Thank you for all the posts, shares and kind words.”


The family were due to return to the US last week (Facebook)

Kevin Sharp was an avid stock car racer known as “The Sharpshooter” in the local racing scene and he often competed in events in his neighbouring county, Cliff Baldwin, his friend and fellow racer, told the Des Moines Register. He said he knew Mr Sharp and his family his entire life, and that he and Mr Sharp shared a love for the University of Iowa and the Kansas City Chiefs.

“He was a great personal friend,” Mr Baldwin said. “It’s hard to talk about. The more I think about him and the family, the harder it is.

“Creston is close-knit like all small towns in Iowa,” he added. “He’s a big part of that community there.”

Sharp and his family left the United States for Cancun, Mexico, on 15 March, according to Ms Peterson’s post. The family then rented a car and drove to Tulum, where they were renting an apartment, according to Amy Sharp’s sister, Renee Hoyt, who spoke with the Creston News Advertiser.

It was the family’s second time in Mexico, according to Amy Sharp’s cousin, Jana Weland, who told ABC News that the family had planned to meet up with some friends at a water park.

But “they never showed up at that water park to meet them”, Ms Weland said.

The Sharps had informed their family members on 15 March that they had arrived safely in Tulum. So when family members didn’t hear from them on Thursday – after they were supposed to have arrived back home – they became worried.

Ms Hoyt, Amy Sharp’s sister, told the Creston News Advertiserthat Mr Sharp’s phone was tracked using Apple’s Find my iPhone app, which it pinged in Mexico. The phone had not moved from its location since Thursday morning.

Relatives of the Sharp family could not be immediately reached for comment.

The family’s mysterious deaths come amid increased travel warnings to Quintana Roo state, which is home to Tulum – a popular destination for those looking to explore Mayan ruins or snorkel in limestone sinkholes. The state department issued a level two advisory to those travelling to Quintana Roo on 16 March, meaning visitors should be cautious because of increased crime there. Department officials cited a spike in Quintana Roo’s homicide rate since 2016.

Last month, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published an investigation that identified more than 150 reports from travellers who said they blacked out or became violently ill after having just one or two drinks at dozens of Mexican resorts in Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Puerta Vallarta and Los Cabos. It is unclear whether those tourists were deliberately drugged or became random victims of tainted alcohol, according to the investigation.

Another Milwaukee Journal Sentinel investigation from November looked at repeated instances where the travel and restaurant review website TripAdvisor removed posts warning of alleged rape, assault or other injuries at some Mexican resorts. And a July investigation into the death of a Wisconsin college student in Mexico uncovered widespread safety issues, including those tied to tainted alcohol at Mexican resorts.

The Washington Post


It was declared as ‘dishwashing liquid.’ It was really 4,020 litres of an MDMA precursor drug —

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) seized over 4,000 litres of “dishwashing liquid” in Vancouver last year. Only, it wasn’t dishwashing liquid. It was MDP-2-P, a precursor used in the production of ecstasy and MDMA. Coverage of drug seizures on The seizure happened when border services officers with the CBSA processed a container from…

via It was declared as ‘dishwashing liquid.’ It was really 4,020 litres of an MDMA precursor drug —

Atascadero woman finds out she could be exposed to Hepatitis B, C & HIV

It has been several days since hundreds of letters from the Santa Barbara County health Department were mailed to patients of a local clinic.  Those letters warn patients to get tested for Hepatitis B, C, and HIV. 

“It’s the accident that just keeps on giving,” says Teresa Turner, a resident of Atascadero.

In 2011, 55-year old Turner says a drunk driver crashed into her, sending her to Dr. Allen Thomashefsky’s Santa Barbara Medical Clinic.

“Dr. Thomashefsky is a very friendly person, he seems to be a good guy,” says Turner.  “The office was very clean and there was nothing out of the ordinary.”

At his office, Turner says she underwent therapy.

“Neck, back, and abdominal muscle,” says Turner.  “I had several injections.”

When say this week’s news, a familiar face came up.

“It was announcing who the doctor was and it was Dr. Thomashefsky,” says Turner.

A phone call later to the Santa Barbara County Health Department, Turner was told she needs to get tested for possible Hepatitis B, C, and HIV.  An appointment that could not come soon enough.

“Monday although it is only a couple of days away, it seems like it is very far away,” says Turner.  “They are infectious diseases and I am concerned that they could have been shared with someone else.”

Turner says she knows the test results could be life changing.


“If I was to be infected by one of those, you feel like you are kind of labeled with a virus, how are people going to treat you,” says Turner.


She has made an appointment with her doctor in Paso Robles and hopes her story will help others take the necessary steps to move on.


“Because you don’t want to hide from this,” says Turner.  “It is a very important and serious issue and you have to go on that path and deal with it.”


Atascadero woman finds out she could be exposed to HIV, Hepatiti.