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clara bow
05-19-2007, 10:26 PM
I'm seeking some info for my WIP.

What substance/hormone, if our body produced too much of it at once, would kill us rather quickly (as in a matter of hours/days)?

Thanks for any suggestions.

waylander
05-20-2007, 12:14 AM
Insulin

ColoradoGuy
05-20-2007, 01:20 AM
That's a tough one. The body is pretty good at protecting itself. I agree you could use insulin, in which case you would need to give your patient an insulin-secreting tumor called an insulinoma. The trouble is, the symptoms of this (from a low blood sugar) get progressively worse over time, so they don't come right out of the blue.

Another possibility would be one of various forms of hyperthyroidism (too much thyroid hormone). This might work better because hyperthyroid patients can be relatively subclinical in their symptoms until they meet a big stress, like an infection or surgery, in which case they can go into a life-threatening event called thyroid storm. I've seen a few cases of that and it can be ugly.

A third possibility might be a serotonin-secreting tumor (or tumors), called carcinoid syndrome, patients with which can get extremely sick suddenly if a lot of the serotonin is secreted at once. I've never heard of one dying, though.

One final hormone-secreting tumor, and this one might work for you as well, is called pheochromocytoma, which secretes hormones called catacholamines. This can raise the blood pressure to dangerous levels suddenly. You could have your character have a previously unknown pheo, have a crisis, and then pop off a fatal stroke in the brain.

That's all I can think of right now. Hope this helps.

Tsu Dho Nimh
05-20-2007, 06:41 AM
Nitric Oxide

Adrenalin

Insulin

Vasopressin (check out ANY of the hormones involved in blood pressure regulation)

Clotting factors

clara bow
05-20-2007, 07:07 AM
Holy cow, thanks so much! These are all excellent choices. I am going to have a difficult time choosing.

I suppose I suppose I may have to go with something very recognizable, like insulin (i'm writing a space-opera-ish sf romance, after all), but that nitric oxide sounds so very sinister!

fwiw, the character in question will have an implant in her brain that, when triggered by a certain condition, will release the to-be-determined substance in her body and kill her. Actually, she won't ever die, but the threat is there.

I am so grateful for everyone's input!

I heart AW!

5KidsMom
05-22-2007, 04:16 AM
A third possibility might be a serotonin-secreting tumor (or tumors), called carcinoid syndrome, patients with which can get extremely sick suddenly if a lot of the serotonin is secreted at once. I've never heard of one dying, though.



This is actually a pretty good one. Serotonin sydrome certainly can be life threatening . . . more so because most doctors don't recognize it, and the things you'd usually do for an psycotic, agitated patient (restraints, antipsychotics like haldol) are exactly the wrong things to do for someone with serotonin syndrome. People can and do die from serotonin syndrome.