Playing Dead

Victims of strychnine poisoning by eating
the berries suffer lethal seizures, sometimes
nearly bent in half, without losing consciousness.
The face is often distorted into a hideous mask.


Hecule Poirot

The molecule is absorbed from the gastrointestinal
tract, nasal passages, or from injection sites and
attacks the central nevous system. The result is
huge over-transmission of signals, resulting in
reflex arcs, which would normally be suppressed by
the postsynaptic action of glycine, becoming acti-
ve, so that the tiniest sensory stimulus produces
powerful muscular contraction. Effects usually b-
egin within 15 - 30 minutes, occasionally there is
a delay of 1 hour if it is taken by mouth. The t-
ime of action depends on whether the stomach is e-
mpty or full and on the type of food that is eaten.
Death occurs as a result of respiratory arrest, due
to spasm and paralysis of the respiratory muscles.