Me And My Poison

Jolyon Jenkins presents a series about poisons.

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0101Yellow Oleander20060411Jolyon Jenkins presents a series about poisons.For the last 10 years, the health service in Sri Lanka has been overwhelmed with cases of young people attempting suicide. The method they use is to poison themselves with the seeds of the yellow oleander tree, a plant that grows widely across the island.|The reasons they give often seem trivial - scolding by their parents, or disappointment in love. British doctor Michael Eddleston talks to Jolyon Jenkins about his research in Sri Lanka, which tries to understand the reasons behind the suicide epidemic.
0102Snakes2006041820070514India's snakes are the most deadly in the world, killing 50,000 people every year. One of the world's top experts in snake bites is Ian Simpson, a retired British economist, who loves snakes so much that he has emigrated to India to be near them and help look after their victims.
Recently he discovered a new venomous Indian snake, to add to four already known. Jolyon Jenkins meets him and his reptiles.
0103Aflatoxin20060425is a poison produced by mould that grows on damp crops. It hit the headlines when it was named as one of Saddam Hussein's biological weapons of mass destruction.
But the truth is that it's a low key killer that causes malnutrition and infant mortality throughout rural Africa. Jolyon Jenkins meets Chris Wild, a man who is attempting to solve the problem.
0104Curare2006050220070515Professor Stanley Feldman has spent 50 years studying curare - the plant poison used by Amazonian Indians on the tips of their blow darts. He's injected himself with it and even once had an accidental overdose.
Synthetic versions of curare are now a major component of modern anaesthesia, paralysing the patient and allowing the anaesthetist to use less of other drugs. Professor Feldman tells Jolyon Jenkins how curare has made the journey from feared poison to beneficial drug.
0105 LASTArsenic2006050920070516has been a popular method of poisoning people since the Middle Ages, but there are some life forms which thrive on it. Biologist Ron Oremland has discovered microbes living in lakes in America that use arsenic in the same way that we use oxygen.
It's a discovery that could point the way towards cleaning up parts of the world, such as Bangladesh, where the water supply is heavily contaminated and where thousands of people suffer serious health consequences.