A Day to Remember and A Gift For You

Today is one of those memorable days in my life! It was busy, frustrating, exciting and ultimately thrilling. So what happened you might ask?

I’ve been writing novels and short stories for several years now. Three of my short stories have been published previously in different anthologies, but I’ve never taken that big step to publish under my own name—until today!

I just got notice from my agent that my favorite short story called Cuffed is now loaded on various book sites and is available for downloading IMMEDIATELY.

As if that wasn’t enough good news, the cover artist that did the cover for Cuffed presented me with another cover design—the cover art for my upcoming debut novel called Lethal Medicine—that is scheduled for release very soon, by mid-August to be exact.

I’m so excited about these pivotal events in my writing career that I’m offering Cuffed with a SPECIAL PROMOTION CODE (Thru Smashwords Only) for a FREE DOWNLOAD for a limited time and to include the first chapter of Lethal Medicine at the end of Cuffed.

So please don’t delay. Scoot over to your favorite eBook site and download Cuffed today and get a sneak preview of Lethal Medicine as a bonus!

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Cuffed – A Short Tale of Intrigueunnamed-10

A true story with a touch of drama and suspense!

Pharmacist Sam Delaney discovers that working the graveyard shift can be deadly when a dangerous patient from a local emergency room steps into his pharmacy and presents a questionable prescription. Concern turns to panic as Sam dials the police and is told that they will be delayed because of a storm and its inevitable fender benders. Sam has to stall for time and personally deal with the impatient perpetrator while trying to protect nurse Mary and an elderly insomniac, both of whom have their own plan of attack. Ultimately, the only victim turns out to be someone you’d least expect.

DOWNLOAD FREE═► On any of your digital devices or apps from Smashwords.com using My Special 100% Off Promo Code!

For a Limited Time Use Promo Code UU25H and Get it FREE @ https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/562366

Or Order From Amazon.com @ http://www.amazon.com/dp/B012GQM0V2

Posted in "Cuffed" by James J. Murray, A Free Short Story Offering, A Mystery Short Story, A New Short Story Release, About James J. Murray, About Writing, Blog Writers, Blogging, Forged Prescription Short Story, Free Book Downloads, Free Short Story Download, Growing As A Writer, James J. Murray Blog, Prescription For Murder Blog, Prescription Forgers, The Art of Storytelling, The Practice of Pharmacy, True Crime Short Story | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Red Wine and Dark Chocolate are the Best Drugs!

Two of my favorite food groups: red wine and dark chocolate—and now I discover thatMH900448355 both are among the healthiest foods one can eat. But hold on a minute. There’s a catch.

Scientists have found that it’s not the wine or the chocolate MH900314312themselves that are beneficial. It’s a chemical within them called resveratrol. That’s the healthy part.

In animal studies, resveratrol has been shown to prevent both disease and aging. It’s been discussed as a fountain of youth. The problem is that you’d have to drink a river of red wine (about 100 bottles per day) or eat a football field of dark chocolate to experience life-changing health benefits.

As a clinical pharmacist, I’ve often said that we can live better through chemistry. And that mantra could be true in this case. Although we can’t drink enough red wine or eatMH900405288 enough dark chocolate to prevent disease or reverse the aging process, we can isolate the chemical, duplicate it in a lab and develop drugs that act like concentrated resveratrol. When scientists accomplish that, we could truly have a pharmaceutical fountain of youth!

The basis for that bold statement is that resveratrol stimulates specific proteins in our bodies. These proteins are called sirtuin proteins (or SIRT1 for short). They break down certain types of damaging proteins and instruct other proteins to repair and regenerate cells.

Over a decade ago, MIT biology professor Leonard Guarente conducted animal studies to understand the function of sirtuin proteins. He discovered that when mice were genetically altered to remove SIRT1 from their bodies, the mice developed metabolic diseases—like diabetes—and were more likely to develop inflammatory diseases and become obese. Conversely, when SIRT1 was present and SIRT1 was stimulated, older mice appeared to be much younger and healthier.

Additional studies conducted at MIT have determined that the SIRT1 present in the brain protects against the neurodegeneration that happens with Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

Since stimulation of sirtiun proteins appear to reduce disease and the effects of aging MH900400870(both mentally and physically) in mice, researchers are studying ways to produce a drug that acts like concentrated resveratrol. By stimulating sirtuin proteins with a pharmaceutical equivalent of pure resveratrol, scientists potentially could extend life spans by countering the effects of obesity, certain diseases and the onset of aging.

But are we ready to live better through chemistry with a pharmaceutical fountain of youth? Only time will tell as further studies are completed and the results unfold.

Thoughts? Comments? I’d love to hear them!

Posted in About James J. Murray, About Medications/Pharmacy, Dark Chocolate for Health, Drugs That Prevent Aging, Foods For Health, Foods to Prevent Aging, Fountain of Youth, Pharmaceutical Fountain of Youth, Pharmacy/Pharmaceuticals, Red Wine for Health, Resveratrol for Health, Resveratrol Research | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Radioactive Bacteria On The Attack!

Tif Image manuscript2012-11287RRR.tiffIn previous blogs (here, here and here), I’ve written about the horrors of bacterial attacks. I’ve discussed the concept of drug resistant bacteria up to and including bacteria used in biological warfare. Today I’d like to highlight an organism that I’m labeling “the friendly kind of bacteria”.

Scientists have found a way to combine the power of radiation with the assault potential of bacteria to attack cancer cells. Such a marriage of radiation and deadly bacteria might seem to be the plot of a bad apocalyptic movie, but it’s actually an impressive and significant leap for medical science.

Researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York have been able to alter bacteria in such a way that the bacteria deliver deadly radiation to cancerous tumors.

Ekaterina Dadachova and her colleague Claudia Gravekamp coated the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes with radioactive antibodies and injected the radioactive Listeria into mice with pancreatic cancer that had spread to multiple sites.

This particular type of cancer was used because less than one in 25 patients diagnosedMH900044950 with pancreatic cancer survive to the five-year mark. Chemotherapy, surgery and radiotherapy are sometimes ineffective because the disease often has spread to other organs before the cancer is detected.

The results of the study showed that, after only several doses of the radioactive Listeria, the mice had 90% fewer metastases than mice treated with either saline or radiation alone. A review of the studies indicates that a combination of events must happen to accomplish these staggering results.

Listeria, a bacterium sometimes found in food and which can cause serious infections, is MH900407492usually destroyed by our body’s immune system. By exploiting the fact that cancer cells can suppress an attack by the immune system, the Listeria bacteria avoid being wiped out and remain in the body, allowing the tumor cells to receive continuous radiation exposure.

As positive as the study results may be, researchers worry that healthy organs may receive excessive amounts of radiation. Although the study found no signs of tissue damage in the mice one week after a high-dose treatment of radioactive Listeria, radiation oncologist Joseph Herman believes that the effects of radiation might take longer to show up.

While estimating dose changes between animals and humans are not alwaysMH900390520 straightforward calculations, the researchers coordinating this study suggest that the radiation levels used would translate to a dose below the safety threshold for humans. Additionally, patients with pancreatic cancer tend to be less prone to radiation sickness because they’ve usually not received chemotherapy beforehand.

While this research is still in its infancy in phase I/II trials, radiation oncologists agree that this approach might present a new option for killing cancer in organs that resist other therapies.

As a clinical pharmacist, I’ve never thought of Listeria as a friendly organism. I’ve decided to rescind that opinion in view of the fact that this deadly bug can be altered to potentially cure deadly cancers. On the other hand, the murder mystery writer in me can visualize exciting sinister plots in which this new technology turns deadly.

Thoughts? Comments? I’d love to hear them!

Posted in About James J. Murray, About Medications/Pharmacy, Attack of Bacteria, Bacteria and Radiation, Bacteria Attacks Cancer, Blog Writers, Blogging, Curing Pancreatic Cancer, Friendly Bacteria, Killing Cancer With Bacteria, Lethal Bacteria, Listeria Attacks Cancer, Listeria Bacteria, Pancreatic Tumors, Pharmacy/Pharmaceuticals, Radioactive Bacteria, Radioactive Bacteria Attacks Cancer, Radioactive Listeria, The Pharmacy Profession | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

One Potato, Two Potato, Three Potato, Die!

The potato plant, a member of the perennial nightshade family, has an interesting secretsproutingpotatoes450 locked up in its leaves, stems and in those funny looking green spuds. The potato, a starchy tuber from the Solanum tuberosum plant and a dietary staple originating from the Incas of Peru 10,000 years ago, can be deadly if certain parts of the plant are consumed.

This trustworthy food that so often makes it to our tables and restaurant menus has a dark side. The green parts of the plant contain a substance called solanine, a glycoalkaloid poison that is a nerve toxin.

Solanine is a bitter crystalline poison that is part of the potato plant’s natural defense against insects and predators. Any green parts of the plant (its leaves and stem) are naturally high in glycoalkaloids and should not be consumed.

Potato poisoning is rare, but it does happen when people think the plant is as safe as the potato itself and attempt to make a tasty tea from potato leaves. Death normally comes from a lethal coma after a period of weakness and confusion.

The initial symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting, dilated pupils and vision changes, delirium and hallucinations, and finally loss of feeling leading to paralysis and death. The solanine toxin interferes with the body’s ability to use a particular chemical that facilitates impulse transmissions between cells.

Even the potato itself can be deadly if allowed to turn green. The green hue on r556527_3331984such spuds is actually chlorophyll, but evidence of chlorophyll also indicates the presence of high concentrations of solanine toxin. The majority of deaths by potato in the US in the last fifty years have been from drinking potato leaf tea or eating green potatoes.

Although all potatoes contain a small amount of solanine, it’s estimated that a normal-sized person would have to eat about five pounds of potatoes at one sitting to experience any neurological symptoms. A much lesser amount of green potatoes consumed at one time would produce extreme neurological symptoms and possibly death.

Green potatoes occur as a result of exposure of the tuber to light (especially fluorescent lights) and warm temperatures. The best storage conditions for the potato include placing them in a dark place with a temperature between 50 to 65 degrees F. A root cellar is a perfect storage place for the potato but a cool, dark pantry and storing them in a brown paper bag works well also.

Having an occasional green potato chip is not harmful, but it’s best to discard potatoes145b96fb42975b0aa202ddbff9edf478339231c8 that have green eyes, sprouts or greenish skins rather than attempting to cut around the greenish parts. The neurotoxin in the green areas may transfer to cooking utensils and the final food product may be contaminated.

So if someone suggests green French fries on St. Patrick’s Day, think twice before deciding that the green hue is merely from food coloring and go for the French fried onion rings instead.

Thoughts? Comments? I’d love to hear them!

Posted in About James J. Murray, Bloodless Death Scene Writing, Blogging, Blog Writers, Foods That Kill, The Science of Murder, All About Murder, Botanical Murder Weapons, Tools of Murder, Interesting Murder Weapons, Acute Poisons, About Murder, Plants That Kill, Foods Used For Murder, Murder With Food, Neurotoxins, A How To Blog on Murder Plot Ideas, Dramatic Murder Weapons, Deadly Plant Poisons, Lethal Botanicals, Paralytic Nerve Toxins, Neurotoxin Poisons, Unique Murder Weapons, Poison Potatoes, Green Potatoes, Solanine Poison, Potatoes and Neurotoxin, Deadly Potatoes, Death By Potato, Food Source Poisons | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Happy Fourth of July!

This coming weekend Citizens of the United States (including me) celebrate theMH900177764 anniversary of their independence on July Fourth.

This year is the 239th anniversary of the development of our free nation, and it reminds me of the great sacrifices our forefathers made so that we could have the freedom to choose how we want to live.

These same freedoms allow me to have this blog site to expound on various thoughts and subjects without fear of persecution. As I see news reports of demonstrations and tyranny around the world, I feel privileged to live in a nation that protects individual rights and freedoms and which encourages exploration of new ideas and alternate lifestyles.

But that right and those freedoms come with a responsibility to do all that we can to further the philosophy of our forefathers so that our children and future generations will continue to have the same freedoms and rights that we now enjoy.

Particularly on this momentous holiday, we have the responsibility to do something very important and timely. We can protect and maintain our environment as we celebrate.

MH900156721The multitude of tiny actions that people do each day to conserve natural resources and their environment may seem small and insignificant if only that one action is considered. But that one thing we do in the interest of conservation, multiplied millions of times by others around the world, can make a substantial difference.

These include recycling and reusing plastic cups and utensils, or by buying 100% biodegradable products. We can also be mindful of littering. Plastic bags and six-pack holders can injure animals that ingest them. And I want to offer a special reminder that illegal or improperly used fireworks are the leading cause of wildfires that can easily destroy fragile ecosystems and end lives.capitol-fireworks01

My wish is for you and your family to enjoy this wonderful summer holiday and to have a safe celebration experience.

I’ll be celebrating the holiday with a special 4-Mile Freedom Run on Saturday and a longer, more challenging run on Sunday.

Next week I’ll return to discuss sinister subjects, but until then:

HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!!

Posted in A Holiday Wish, About James J. Murray, Blog Writers, Blogging, Celebrating The Fourth of July, Environmental Responsibility, Fourth of July, Fourth of July Celebrating, Freedom in the United States, Happy Fourth of July, US Independence Day, US Independence Day Celebration | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Clean Your Windows – Clear Out Your Enemies!

Earlier this year there was considerable news coverage of an unusual attempted murder case. A South Carolina college student allegedly tried to kill her roommates by spraying their food with a window-cleaning product.

The student was caught on videotape and arrested for unlawful and malicious tampering with a drug product or human food, a class C felony that can carry up to a 20-year prison sentence if convicted.

IMG_1385-e1335410135484Even though I have some knowledge about lethal chemicals and an active imagination regarding how to use them for murder, news broadcasts constantly amaze me by reporting even more imaginative kill methods.

Although window-cleaning fluids can be quite lethal, it turns out that a considerable amount must be ingested or inhaled within a short period of time for them to be deadly. Certainly a person would become sick and possibly need medical care with lesser amounts, but literature indicates that about 14 ounces ingested or inhaled in a short period could be fatal.

Window cleaners often contain ammonia, ethanol, isopropyl alcohol and/orimages methanol, and these toxic substances produce a variety of symptoms. When the product is inhaled, the most common and expected symptom is mucous membrane irritation (specifically noted as a burning sensation in the nose, throat and airways). When ingested, the symptoms include burning of the lips, tongue and throat. The gastrointestinal symptoms from oral intake include severe abdominal pain, vomiting and blood in the stool. The skin and underlying tissue die and simply disintegrate.

With either a lethal oral or inhaled dose, additional symptoms of low blood pressure develop and the central nervous system begins to shut down. This is exhibited by insomnia, irritability, an inability to think and focus, as well as dizziness and walking difficulties. Eventually, the victim collapses and becomes comatose.

Medical support for an accidental overdose of window cleaner includes immediate medical care. It’s important NOT to make the person throw up if the chemical is swallowed. A better recommendation is to give the victim water or milk to dilute and neutralize the chemical, but do not give these supportive fluids if the person is vomiting or not completely alert.

With inhalation of large amounts of window cleaner, it’s important to move the victim to fresh air after calling for emergency help.

In researching the lethal effects of window cleaners, I discovered that there are also many beneficial uses for this household cleaner aside from cleaning windows. The red-wine-stain-in-carpetmost significant include using it for pest control—one spray on ants is lethal. Another useful suggestion is to use window-cleaning products to eradicate ketchup, red wine and tomato sauce stains from clothes. The recommendation is to spray the spot, let it set for 15 minutes and then wash the clothing.

As a murder mystery writer, I’m constantly looking for exotic, lethal chemicals to use incleaningcaddies my next storyline. Maybe I simply need to venture out to the garage and scan the cleaning product shelves for my next plot ideas.

Thoughts? Comments? I’d love to hear them!

Posted in About James J. Murray, Bloodless Death Scene Writing, Blogging, Blog Writers, The Science of Murder, Ways to Murder, All About Murder, Ideas for Murder Scenes, Tools of Murder, Interesting Murder Weapons, Writing Death Scenes, Acute Poisons, About Murder, Chemicals Used For Murder, New Methods To Kill Characters in Your Novel, Murder Weapons Discussed, Deciding How to Kill Off a Character in a Novel, A How To Blog on Murder Plot Ideas, Chemical Poisons, Lethal Substances Used For Murder, New Methods of Murder, Plotting Interesting Murder Scenes, Unique Murder Weapons, Windex and Murder, Window Cleaning Murder, Window Cleaner Poisoning, Household Chemicals Used For Murder, Poisoning With Household Cleaning Products, Murder With Chemical Cleaners | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

DIELDRIN – An Old Remedy For A New Kill

In the past I’ve blogged about many compounds that have been used for murder or been formualtionused as wartime bio-weapons. One of the common denominators of these lethal compounds is that many were first developed as pesticides and used for that purpose until the lethal effects to humans were realized.

One such chemical is dieldrin, an organochloride compound originally produced by ashowThumb.aspx Denver, Colorado company in 1948. The product was marketed as an alternative to DDT and was widely used during the 1950s and into the 1970s as an insecticide on corn and cotton plants.

It was banned for that specific use in 1974 (and for all pesticide use by the mid-1980s) due to its harmful environmental impact and human health concerns. In the United States, dieldrin was the second most common pesticide detected in US pasteurized milk.

Chronic exposure to low and moderate levels of dieldrin can cause headaches, dizziness, vomiting, irritability and eventually can lead to spastic muscle movements. Health problems linked to this chemical include Parkinson’s disease, breast cancer as well as damage to the immune, reproductive and nervous systems.

Presently, many countries across the world have banned dieldrin’s use. However, the lethal effects of this substance have been linked to murders in and around the 21st century. An upstate New York gardener who strangled and raped a fourteen-year-old girl was convicted and sent to prison for his crimes, but in repeated appeals he continues to blame exposure to dieldrin as the cause of his episodes of mania and his depraved acts on the young girl.

An episode of Law and Order: SVU, which originally aired in November 2006, contained an interesting plot of adultery to murder in which the killer used dieldrin as the poison.

Dieldrin is a white powder with a mild odor and technical grade dieldrin is a tan powder, neither of which is soluble in water. But the chemical is readily absorbed by white_powderinhalation, ingestion or via contact with skin. Much of the chemical is metabolized and eliminated by the human body. A clinically significant portion is stored in fat cells, however, and accumulation in the body creates the toxic effects.

The substance is an extremely stable organic compound and does not breakDieldrin-3D-balls-1 down easily and kills via bioaccumulation—the progressive increase in the amount of toxic substance in an organism that occurs because the rate of intake exceeds the organism’s ability to remove the chemical from the body.

Since dieldrin strongly adheres to soil and resists breakdown, it continues to be an environmental contaminant and enters many lakes, ponds and streams due to soil runoff.

Dieldrin presents an interesting opportunity for fiction writers: from environmental contaminant plots with conflicts against the mega chemical industry to murder mystery plots using old dieldrin found in the storage shed of vintage houses. Research dieldrin, my writer friends, and let your imagination run wild!

Thoughts? Comments? I’d love to hear them!

Posted in About James J. Murray, Bloodless Death Scene Writing, Blogging, Blog Writers, Bloodless Death Scenes, The Science of Murder, Murder Weapons, Ideas for Murder Scenes, Instruments of Death, Tools of Murder, Interesting Murder Weapons, Contact Poisons, About Murder, Chemicals Used For Murder, New Methods To Kill Characters in Your Novel, Killing Off Characters in Your Novel, Lethal Chemical Poisons, A How To Blog on Murder Weapons, A How To Blog on Murder Plot Ideas, Dramatic Murder Weapons, Chemical Poisons, DMT, Poisons and Murder, Chronic Poisons, Unique Murder Weapons, Lethal Pesticides, Lethal Insecticides, Dieldrin Discussed, Dieldrin and Its Lethal Effects, Dieldrin Used For Murder | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments