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Leah Ruth Robinson's UNNATURAL CAUSES
An Evelyn Sutcliffe Medical Suspense Novel
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About Mushrooms
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About Mushrooms

When Dr. Evelyn Sutcliffe takes some time out of the hectic pace of the ERto throw a dinner party, she suspects nothing about the basket ofgourmet mushrooms at the meal-- until something goes terribly wrong.
Mushrooms and truffles have long been prized as culinary delicacies around the world. Mushrooms grow easily and quickly in both highly populated and untrammeled areas, and mushroom-hunting has turned into a hobby for many.
But many mushrooms have their deadlier cousins, which even in small doses can prove highly toxic-- and many times, fatal. There are alsohallucinogenic varieties of mushrooms, which have an effect similarto that of LSD.
Psilocybin and psilocin are two of the alkaloids found in themushrooms genera Psilocybe, Panaeolus, Panaeolina, and Conocybe. Once metabolized inside the body and distributed to the brain, the alkaloids cause hallucinations, dizziness, and nausea.
Poisonous mushrooms, (or "toadstools," which are more a nickname from folklore rather than a scientific classification) often lookinnocuous, and more than the occasional mushroom hunter has unnkowingly selected a toxic gift from Nature's bounty. The three most dangerous categoriesare the amanitas, the "false morels" and a category known as"little brown mushrooms" (LBMS). Mushrooms from these three categoriescause all the fatal mushroom poisonings in the U.S., with amanitasmaking up 90% of mushroom-related deaths.
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While there are hundreds of mushrooms that can cause adverse reactions, two of the most common, the jack-o'lantern and the green spored Lepiota, usually pass through the body after 24 hours without permanent damage.
No fast and easy test is available to easily identify the ediblemushrooms from the poisonous, although many rely on fallible methodslike peeling the cap, testing with a silver spoon, and checking forinsect damage. The only sure-fire way to avoid poisonous mushroomsis to avoid any amanita-like mushroom (parasol-shaped mushroomswith white gills), all little brown mushrooms, and all false morels.
And don't accept mushrooms from strangers!
 

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