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Friday, March 29, 2013

Deadly Deception - Think Aspartame in Gum is Harmless?

Stoddard's POV - March 29, 2013 -- Chewing gum is probably the most frighteningly-efficient and potentially toxic delivery system in humans. The Aspartame molecule, w/its 10% Methanol breakdown product, which converts in the body, into deadly Formaldehyde, embalming fluid, Formic Acid and DKP, a known brain tumor agent. 

Doctors all know 'sublingual absorption' is one of the most powerfully efficient ways to get a substance directly into the bloodstream - bypassing the usual digestive filtration system functions that cleanse and purge the body of harmful, unwanted substances.

Virtually all (even those with sugar and other sweetener blends) commercially-produced chewing gums now contain Aspartame/Neotame (super clone of ASP). Even in the 'nicotine gum' used in an attempt to control cigarette cravings. Smokers may be trading one deadly habit for another when they switch to gum containing the neurotoxic sweetener.

If you are a user of chewing gums - please check out the ones sold primarily in health food stores/markets or on the Internet. Stevia gum and those containing Xylitol, for example, are considered by this editor to be safest of all.

Don't be lulled into a false sense of security, thinking since one doesn't eat or drink chewing gum, it is a perfectly benign habit. That, can be a 'dead wrong' assumption.

Sublingual Absorption:

The Aspartame can then be absorbed partially or entirely into the systemic circulation from blood vessels in the sublingual mucosa. The sublingual route for medications usually produces a faster onset of action than orally ingested tablets and the portion absorbed through the sublingual blood vessels bypasses the hepatic first-pass metabolic processes.

Please share this vital information and our Stoddard's POV Blog with everyone you know. (Especially Pilots; Ship Captains, Flight Attendants as well as Parents). -- In Health/Happiness, Mary Nash Stoddard/author Deadly Deception Story of Aspartame (Odenwald Press)


Recent (2011-2012) Radio Interviews w/Mary S.: •< aspartame>

VIDEOS on <> :



Dallas Texas March 29, 2013 -- Aspartame Consumer Safety Network -- Aspartame, the artificial sweetener in chewing gum, is absorbed directly though the buccal mucosa of the tongue, mouth, and gums, making it a far worse poisoning agent than even if it were given intravenously. The nerves serving this area and their vascular supply derive directly from the brain, so the Aspartame absorbed through them goes directly into the brain, bypassing the spinal cord and blood brain barrier.

The intact Aspartame molecule and its diketopiperazine breakdown product in gums, hard candies and breath mints, are vastly worse than any of the other poisonings which arise from it during digestion. Including: liver processing of the digestive blood, which is delivered directly to the liver via the portal vein. The other poisonings, as mentioned, are indeed horrendous but Aspartame from gum is far worse, making even the smaller amounts contained in chewing gum strikingly dangerous and damaging. This is undoubtedly why Wrigley placed it in all their products!

Aspartame, via ingestion into the digestive tract, is made into at least ten other toxic substances by the digestive processes, and then (excluding that which is delivered directly to the pancreas, they are transported straight to the liver via the portal vein, where they are then partially dealt with and partially reprocessed. Afterwards, they are sent (in somewhat lesser concentration) to the entire body, lessening the amount which eventually goes to the brain. The amount getting to the brain from either source is devastating in many ways. Aspartame is certainly excruciatingly toxic when ingested, but a similar amount is immensely worse when obtained from chewing gum.


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

(Taken From 3-Decade History of Media Intimidation Cases Resulting in Last Minute Cancellation of BREAKING SWEETENER NEWS STORY)


TAMPA (September 8, 1998)--The same Fox Television station under fire for it's handling of investigative reports about Monsanto's bovine growth hormone has abruptly cancelled another planned broadcast producers feared would be critical of the giant chemical company.
Mary Nash Stoddard, a leading critic of aspartame chemical sweeteners such as Monsanto-made NutraSweet, was informed less than two hours before her scheduled appearance on WTVT that the discussion had been cancelled on orders of station lawyers and management.
Apparently, while viewers who called the station were being told the promoted segment was cancelled "for technical reasons," Stoddard says producer Angela Schultz actually gave her a much different reason.
Stoddard says she was told Fox legal people got involved "because Fox was having problems with Monsanto." She quotes the apologetic producer as telling her that the station "tried to do a story about BGH, another Monsanto product, and we had problems we don't want any more problems with Monsanto."
The BGH Bulletin has independently confirmed Stoddard's account with sources close to the situation on the condition they not be identified. A Fox producer and attorney have denied Stoddard's account and claim the long-scheduled segment was cancelled only because the station had not arranged anyone to present an opposing view on the same broadcast.
This reporter, one of the plaintiffs in a pending civil suit against Fox, instructed his attorneys to prepare and serve subpoenas on Fox personnel involved in the incident, saying "We believe the testimony will show this same broadcasting company which ordered us to slant the news and even lie on television, frequently selects stories and shapes its broadcasts based on its own interests and not the public interests as viewers as a right to expect."
The sweetener discussion was booked and confirmed by Fox weeks earlier. It was to be aired live September 8 on the station's mid-day news broadcast as part of anchorwoman Kathy Fountain's regular Your Turn feature. It had been promoted to viewers and it was not until the day of air that there was any sign of trouble.
Realizing the likelihood that Stoddard's comments would include troubling long-term, human health questions which have not been resolved in years since Monsanto's NutraSweet was approved, Fox officials decided to pull the plug.
Stoddard is head of the Dallas-based Aspartame Consumer Safety Network. She has written a book about serious human health problems allegedly caused by NutraSweet and other chemical sweeteners. She cites scientists and critics of the product who have linked it to seizures, including blackouts by pilots in the cockpits of commercial jetliners.
The activist says she was told by the producer who called her that newsroom colleagues argued for nearly an hour to get approval to air the interview because it concerns an important public health issue but station officials refused to allow the segment to proceed after Monsanto's involvement was discovered.
Fountain's Your Turn segments are not formatted as a debate. Guests are usually invited to express their views without another guest appearing on the same show to defend a company or express and opposing view. Stoddard says producers never mentioned any concern about a lack of balance, nor did they mention anything about any desire to re-schedule her appearance for a future date.
WTVT and its owner, Fox Television, are currently fighting a lawsuit filed earlier this year by this reporter and reporter Jane Akre who charge they were fired by Fox for refusing orders to broadcast false and misleading stories about Monsanto's synthetic bovine growth hormone, a product which has been linked to cancer.
According to the complaint filed by the veteran journalists, their investigative reports about BGH had been well promoted and also scheduled to air until Fox News chief Roger Ailes received a letter from a Monsanto attorney and the story was pulled on the virtual eve of the broadcast.
What followed, the suit alleges, was a nearly year-long battle between Fox lawyers and management and the reporters who say they were ethically obligated to refused orders to broadcast information they knew and documented to be false and misleading.
After at least 73 re-writes of the BGH scripts, a period of suspension, being locked out of the station and its computers where the reporters kept some of their BGH research, Fox fired both its WTVT investigative journalists December 2, 1997. They responded with their suit April 2, 1998. Fox has categorically denied the allegations and a February 22, 1999 trial date has been set in Florida state court in Tampa. UPDATE directory


"IDIOCRACY" Is Alive And Well in A Country That Bans The Lesser of Two Evils: HFCS v ASPARTAME/NEOTAME - Which Will Win?

September 27, 2012

Either way, the Consumer is the Loser in this Battle! A proposed ban on large-sized sugary sodas may drive consumers to sodas filled instead with formaldehyde, as a breakdown product of Aspartame's 10% methanol content.
In an attempt to combat the obesity epidemic, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg asked the Board of Health to ban the sale of sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces by movie theaters, restaurants, mobile food carts, and delis, though not grocery stores or convenience stores—so 7-Eleven's 44-ounce Super Big Gulp is safe. (It also must be stated that there is not one grain of refined cane sugar in a regular Soft Drink. They all contain the highly-controversial, genetically-modified sweetener, High Fructose Corn Syrup.) Another little known fact is this: the so-called Sugar Lobby pales in comparison to the megalithic Artificial Sweetener Industry, which literally has billions in its coffers with which to vigorously fight any threat to its dominance in the world. ALL regular sodas today are Sugarfree. No sugar in a regular soda, Mayor Bloomberg!

The Bloomberg Ban, now in effect, exempts not only diet sodas, but also fruit-based drinks, dairy-based drinks, and alcoholic beverages, no matter how many calories they contain.

Most soft drinks are sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup. HFCS is a corn syrup that has undergone enzymatic processing to convert some of its glucose into fructose to produce a desired level of sweetness. A Genetically-Modified Sweetener! 

Astonishingly, the mayor has exempted so-called diet drinks featuring artificial sweeteners Aspartame and Neotame. The mayor seems to like them and his legal action will undoubtedly push more people into choosing them. There is evidence these drinks are extremely dangerous, some scientists call them 'neurotoxic,' potentially much more so than the drinks they would replace.
  • Aspartame and Neotame (aka Equal/ NutraSweet), which are used in more than 6,000 diet products, foods, gums, beverages, and pharmaceuticals, have carcinogenic effects at a dose level within range of allowable human daily intake—effects that are magnified when exposure begins during pregnancy. One packet of Equal contains 33 mg. of aspartame; one can of Diet Coke contains approximately 200 mg. of Aspartame and 20 mg of methanol. One-half cup of sugarfree Jello contains 40 mg. of Aspartame and 4 mg. of methanol. 
  • Ten percent of each aspartame molecule is methanol, which is converted, at temperatures exceeding 85 degrees Fahrenheit, into formaldehyde—which, in turn, is converted to formic acid. The other 90% is composed of phenylalanine (may cause mental retardation & seizures) and aspartic acid (caused 'holes' in the brains of lab animals.) These amino acids, when found in nature are harmless.  When ingested in isolation, as in Aspartame, they are neurotoxic.
  • Aspartame has been implicated in the development of Gulf War syndrome. Huge amounts of diet drinks were shipped to Gulf War troops, who were drinking it, after it converted to toxic breakdown products in high temperatures. In the transcripts of the August, 1985 Senate Hearings on the Safety of Aspartame, the National Soft Drink Association stated their objections to the sweetener, saying "After a few weeks in storage in hot climates, there is little to no Aspartame left in a Diet Soda." Instead, only the toxic breakdown products remain. Aspartame has been shown to decompose into: methanol (wood alcohol), formaldehyde, diketopiperazine (brain tumor agent), and other toxins. Coca-Cola started using aspartame in Diet Coke in 1984.
  • In a study on seven monkeys, five had grand mal seizures and one died, a casualty rate of 86%.
  •  Mary Nash Stoddard, Founder of Dallas/Washington-based Aspartame Consumer Safety Network, set up a hotline for pilots in 1987. Stoddard reports that pilots are having grand mal seizures in the cockpits of commercial airline flights due to Aspartame, and others are crashing the flight simulator at training facilities while in seizure. Aspartame also blocks production of serotonin—a chemical that regulates aggressive behaviors, sleep patterns and menstrual cycles in women.
  • Diet sodas in general are linked to a 61% increase in strokes and heart attacks, according to the American Stroke Association. Interestingly, Alliance for Natural Health reports: the population studied for this landmark report consists of all New Yorkers!
  • In a 1976 FDA document on GRAS substances, it stated: "High-fructose corn syrups are predicted to increase in production and to replace sucrose and invert sugar in up to 30 percent of their applications by 1980-85, based largely on relative costs." The document further states: " Informing the consumer of the sugar content of foods by appropriate labeling could lead to judicious use of sweetened foods. Choices could be made easier with a greater selection of less sugared foods in the market place. The Select Committee has weighed all of the foregoing and concludes that: Evidence exists that simple sugars, including glucose and fructose [and, therefore, corn sugar(dextrose), corn syrup including high-fructose corn syrup, and invert sugars] are cariogenic (causes cavities). However,  Informing the consumer of the sugar content of foods by appropriate labeling could lead to judicious use of sweetened foods. Choices could be made easier with a greater selection of less sugared (artificially-sweetened?)  foods in the market place. The Select Committee has weighed all of the foregoing and concludes that: Evidence exists that simple sugars, including glucose and fructose [and, therefore, corn sugar(dextrose), corn syrup including high-fructose corn syrup, and invert sugars] are cariogenic (cavity triggers.)   
Mayor Bloomberg's Law demonstrates a complete ignorance of science on his part. When government tries to force people to behave in a certain way on pain of fines or worse, there is always the risk of unintended consequences, separate from the question of whether government should be telling people what to eat in the first place. In reality, is this a Civil Rights Issue?

What even the most informed scientists know about food (and medical treatments) is continuously changing. Over time people will become better informed and hopefully, better choices will be made. When government officials jump in with heavy-handed punishment, there is too much risk they will get the science wrong, as in this case, or else, they will arbitrarily force today's science into law, even though science is consistently evolving. Don't forget - at one time, "More Doctors Smoked Camels Than Any Other Brand!" proclaimed the ad in the Journal of American Medical Association JAMA, a peer-reviewd scientific, medical publication. 

The mayor, states opposition to his ban is "ridiculous." But is it? There are many reasons to oppose it, not the least of which is scientifically well documented and may be found in numerous independent peer-reviewed studies.
"It must also be stated", said Aspartame Consumer Safety Network Founder, Stoddard, "If this legislation is dropped in favor of tax penalties to be levied on consumers who purchase regular HFCS sweetened Sodas - we propose Diet Sodas be taxed on a basis equal with the Regular Sodas."
(article taken from published research of Aspartame Consumer Safety Network and Pilot Hotline, since 1987, along with information on the proposed NYC ban of HFCS sweetened Large Diet Drinks, presented June 5, 2012, by The Alliance for Natural Health)

For more information:

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Dublin Dr Pepper pits itself as David vs. Goliath against big Dr Pepper
Dr Pepper Bottling Company of Dublin pits itself as the little David vs. the big Goliath in its response to the federal lawsuit filed by Plano-based Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc.
This is the lawsuit Dr P filed on June 30 to terminate its licensing agreement with Dublin Dr Pepper, to get them to stop using the "Dublin Dr Pepper" name and stop selling Dublin Dr P on their website.
Dublin Dr Pepper's response, issued on August 9, accuses Dr Pepper Snapple of being inconsistent. To wit:
  • Before filing the lawsuit, Dr Pepper Snapple's corporate website provided links to Dublin Dr Pepper's website and toll-free number. (They've since taken it down.)
  • Dr Pepper Snapple hasn't sued other bottlers who also sell Dr Pepper online, in North Carolina and Missouri. (Uh-oh for those guys.)
  • Dr Pepper Snapple President and CEO Larry Young touted Dublin Dr Pepper in an interview, calling it "the original Dr Pepper formula with the Imperial Sugar in it," and saying that their following was "unbelievable."
Dublin Dr Pepper is sought by soda fanatics because it contains Imperial cane sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup. It's incontestably delicious and should be available everywhere. The big Plano Dr Pepper even released a limited-edition made-with-sugar version last year for its anniversary, although they did manage to muck it up by supplementing the cane sugar with beet sugar.
One thing that Dublin Dr Pepper does not acknowledge is that some of its product did show up in Tom Thumb stores as recently as 2009. One consumer says he bought it there in 2008, and I still have two cans from a six-pack I bought at Tom Thumb in 2009. Doesn't it seem likely that Plano Dr Pepper may have spotted this contraband product in its own backyard?
Sugar in sodas is definitely coming back. The Throwback versions of Pepsi and Mountain Dew, which started out as a temporary item, are now available year-round. Dr Pepper Snapple may be slow to respond like the Goliath it is, but it seems likely they'll eventually start selling a sugar version year-round, too.
There was a rally on July 30 in Dublin, and there's now an I Support Dublin Dr Pepper Facebook page.
Marystod: "If a little guy tries to sue a big corporation, it's dubbed 'frivolous,' by media and the powers that be. Corporations can do it w/o retribution by media, etc. I was an expert witness for the Defense, when a big guy (Monsanto) sued a mom/pop dairy in Waco for labeling their product 'bovine growth hormone free.' Labels w/the words 'sugarfree' are used all the time and the sugar companies don't try to sue makers of those products! Torts were only 'reformed,' under our last President, in favor of the corporations and against the little guys. And, that's the way things work now! I've visited the Dublin plant several times and bought sodas there. They really are better and better for us than HFCS or Aspartame! Wake up and smell the sugarcane, Plano D.P. It may be the wave of the future passing you by!"

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Our Friend Nutritionist Martie Whittiken on Bloomberg's Law & Artificial Sweeteners

My thoughts about artificial sweeteners:

 Always be suspicious of chemicals that have not been on the planet before such as the commercial sweeteners below (except Stevia). There is a high likelihood that they will ultimately be found to have previously unknown toxic or drug-like effects on humans.

• The FDA approval process depends on studies done by the manufacturer who obviously has much to gain by structuring the tests in a way that finds no problems.

• The safety studies are, of necessity, short term studies. No one looks at the long term effects or the effects of one agent combined with others. 

• Studies are almost always on animals and may not correlate exactly with human chemistry.

• Studies typically look for immediate poisoning signals and cancer, not other effects like depression for example.

• Once in the marketplace there are $ billions in profits at stake for the manufacturers and the FDA's reputation is on the line, so we shouldn't even expect any efforts to prove them unsafe.

• The herbal sweetener Stevia seems appears to be the safest choice.

• Our craving for sweetness is nature's way of guiding us to more nutritious foods. However, the foods that use artificial sweeteners are not usually nutritious and when we short-circuit that instinct with chemicals the body still is hungry for the nutrients. The craving continues.

• There is not really evidence that these products support weight loss. In fact, the reverse may be true. 

• Moreover, there is evidence that the sweet taste, even from a calorie-free source, will stimulate an insulin response. High insulin levels lead to chronic health problems.

• The safest bet overall is to reduce our dependence on sweet foods. After you stay off of sweeteners for even a week or two, your taste buds become more sensitive and can taste the subtle natural sweetness in real foods such as almonds.

(I have been a guest on Martie Whittiken's Radio Talk Show Many Times in Dallas. Thank you Martie for including this topic in your latest Newsletter. Mary S./author Deadly Deception Story of Aspartame - Shocking Expose of the World's Most Controversial Sweetener 1992)

Food Nanny Foiled
New York City Mayor Bloomberg's plan to limit the size of soft drinks for sale in his city to no more than 16 ounces ran into a roadblock this week when a court ruled against the regulation. I discussed some pros and cons of his plan in the newsletter last year. It seems the judge thought it was unfair that some businesses would be limited, but others (possibly right across the street) were regulated by the state rather than the city and would not have the limit. The passionate Mayor will appeal and may or may not prevail. However,  if nothing else, the issue has gotten a lot of press and the sales of soft drinks have been steadily declining. Good.
Fake Isn't Better
Diet soft drinks, like the regular kind, contain phosphoric acid which might be a factor in tooth damage and bone thinning as well as being hard on those with kidney problems. They may also have caffeine and various chemicals. The artificial sweeteners themselves are of concern on many levels. But here is the most surprising point: although they do not contain sugar or calories, there is no evidence that they are less likely to make you fat and diabetic.  When we trick the brain into thinking it is getting something sweet but don't provide that nourishment, the brain seems to keep us hungry until we do get calories. And we can easily overcompensate. It is just hard to beat good clean water! 

Please help spread the good word˜forward this newsletter to friends and family. 
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My first book
 Natural Alternatives to Nexium, Maalox, Tagamet, Prilosec & Other Acid Blockers. Subtitle: What to Use to Relieve Acid Reflux, Heartburn, and Gastric Ailments.

My latest book:
 Aloe Vera - Modern Science Sheds Light on an Ancient Herbal Remedy

Copyright 2013 Martie Whittekin, CCN 


Remembering Mr. Larry Hagman, phenomenal actor, and equally phenomenal humanitarian and friend for over two decades. Those of us who knew and loved him will miss him very much - along with the remainder of the entire world! I will be telling my stories about my time spent on-the-set of both DALLAS TV Series, as well as campaigning together for one of our favorite Texas Legislators, Sen. Bob Krueger. Larry kindly gave moral support to the work of the volunteer organization I began in 1987 to help save lives of victims around the planet. The Aspartame Consumer Safety Network and Pilot Hotline. Larry truly cared about his fellow human beings, both in and out of the business. Thank you for being that person who gave us countless hours of entertainment, joy along with motivating us to get actively involved in saving the planet and the people on it. RIP, Sir. You will be missed! -- Your Friend, Mary Nash Stoddard (the one you always called, "The Aspartame Lady From Dallas!")

Monday, March 11, 2013


Good News! This was my opinion of a 'frivolous' law suit from the outset! Waste of valuable: Time/Energy/$$$. It's a dangerous diversion from the more important issues of the day. And, filled with loopholes. Embarrassing for New Yorkers to have this ill-advised legal action associated with that fine city. - Editor STODDARD'S POV


This case was judged fairly today on its Merit ... as it should have been. There is no more scientific evidence showing regular sodas with HFCS, cause more weight gain than diet sodas with Aspartame. Arguing for full disclosure here: there is no more Sugar in a Regular Soda than there is in a Diet Soda w/Aspartame! Regular sodas are sweetened only with the Genetically-Modified artificial sweetener, High Fructose Corn Syrup (aka HFCS.) Please get the Facts straight. This is not a 'win' for the beverage industry any more than it is a proper interpretation of the Law. In that respect, it is a 'win' for all citizens. (Personally, I would've been happy to see such a 'ban' imposed on Aspartame-sweetened foods and beverages, based on an illegal FDA approval process that occurred in the first days of the Reagan Administration. But, that's an issue for another time.) At this time, we are left with no other choice but to agree with this Judge's ruling stated here in a Reuters News Report:

"In his ruling, state Supreme Court Justice Milton Tingling in Manhattan zeroed in on the loopholes, noting it would only have applied to businesses that are under the purview of the health department, like restaurants.
"It is arbitrary and capricious because it applies to some but not all food establishments in the city, it excludes other beverages that have significantly higher concentrations of sugar sweeteners and/or calories on suspect grounds, and the loopholes inherent in the rule ... serve to gut the purpose of the rule," he wrote.
He also expressed concern that to allow the health board such sweeping authority would "eviscerate" the separation of powers between the executive and the legislature branches of city government."

Point-of-Fact: the so-called Obesity Epidemic had its origins in the early 80s, after FDA approved Aspartame as an artificial sweetener and put a Warning Label on all saccharin products, so Aspartame would have no competition to stand in its way. We are calling this epidemic "Asparbesity," since it has been shown in peer-reviewed medical journals that Aspartame is capable of causing paradoxical 'weight gain' in studies. 

There's plenty of Scientifically documented evidence to support this. It is no longer a theory, it's a scientifically-proven fact, disputed primarily by the PR arm of the Artificial Sweetener Industry. As with cigarettes, there are stacks of studies (funded/sponsored by the Manufacturers) to support the safety of that which in reality is a risky habit - use of a sweetener which is fully 10% Methanol and breaks down into Formaldehyde. 

A canned Diet Soda contains 200 mg of Aspartame and 20 mg of Wood Alcohol. If anything should get banned first - it's sugary-tasting Diet Sodas with Aspartame that trick the body. 


Friday, March 8, 2013


[Ed. For every molecule of aspartame - there is a molecule of methanol released. Aspartame is 10% methanol by weight. A diet soda sweetened with aspartame contains 225 mg aspartame - 22.5 mg methanol. ]

Last Updated: March 15, 2007
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Synonyms and related keywords: organic solvent, formaldehyde, formate, alcohol dehydrogenase, ADH, methanol ingestion, methanol toxicity, methanol intoxication, antifreeze ingestion, perfume ingestion, paint solvent ingestion, photocopying fluid ingestion, windshield washing fluid ingestion, shellac ingestion, inhalation of methanol, methanol fumes, methanol poisoning

Section 1 of 10     
Author Information  Introduction  Clinical  Differentials  Workup  Treatment  Medication  Follow-up  Miscellaneous  Bibliography

 Author: Kalyani Korabathina, MD, Department of Neurology, University of South Florida College of Medicine

 Coauthor(s): Selim R Benbadis, MD, Professor of Neurology, Director of Comprehensive Epilepsy Program, Departments of Neurology and Neurosurgery, University of South Florida College of Medicine, Tampa General Hospital; David Likosky, MD, Clinical Instructor, Department of Neurology, University of Washington

 Kalyani Korabathina, MD, is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Neurology

 Editor(s): Jonathan S Rutchik, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor, Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, University of California at San Francisco; Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD, Senior Pharmacy Editor, eMedicine;  Nestor Galvez-Jimenez, MD, Program Director of Movement Disorders, Director of Neurology Residency Training Program, Department of Neurology, Division of Medicine, Cleveland Clinic Florida;  Matthew J Baker, MD, Consulting Staff, Collier Neurologic Specialists, Naples Community Hospital; and  Nicholas Lorenzo, MD, Chief Editor, eMedicine Neurology; Consulting Staff, Neurology Specialists and Consultants

 Disclosure Author Information  Introduction  Clinical  Differentials  Workup  Treatment  Medication  Follow-up  Miscellaneous  Bibliography

Background: Methanol, also known as wood alcohol, is a commonly used organic solvent, the ingestion of which has severe potential ramifications. It is a constituent in many commercially available industrial solvents and in poorly adulterated alcoholic beverages. Toxicity usually occurs from intentional overdose or accidental ingestion and results in metabolic acidosis, neurologic sequelae, and even death. Methanol toxicity remains a common problem in many parts of the developing world, especially among members of lower socioeconomic classes.

Sophisticated imaging techniques have enabled a better understanding of the clinical manifestations of methanol toxicity. Additionally, with the improvement in medical therapy, neurological complications are recognized more frequently. This is possible because of early recognition of the toxicity and because of advances in supportive care. Hemodialysis and better management of acid-base disturbances remain the most important improvements.

Pathophysiology: Methanol has a relatively low toxicity. The adverse effects are thought to be from the accumulation of formic acid, a metabolite of methanol metabolism.

Upon ingestion, methanol is quickly absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract and metabolized in the liver. In the first step of degradation, methanol is transformed to formaldehyde via the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH). This reaction is slower than the next step, the transformation of formaldehyde to formic acid via the enzyme aldehyde dehydrogenase. This may explain the reason for the latency of symptoms between ingestion and effect. The half-life of formaldehyde is estimated to be 1-2 minutes (Rathi, 2006).

Formic acid is further oxidized to carbon dioxide and water in the presence of tetrahydrofolate. The metabolism of formic acid is very slow; thus, it often accumulates in the body, which results in metabolic acidosis (Rathi, 2006).

The eye damage caused by methanol has been well described; however, the mechanism behind this phenomenon is not well understood. The major damage occurs at the retrolaminar optic nerve with intra-axonal swelling and organelle destruction. Little to no change is seen in the retina (Casarett, 1996).

Methanol also affects the basal ganglia. With severe intoxication, common problems are hemorrhagic and nonhemorrhagic damage of the putamen. This was described initially in 1953, although the clinical syndrome associated with this lesion was not described until more recently (Phang, 1988). As a result, patients can develop parkinsonism or other dystonic/hypokinetic clinical pictures.

The predilection for and mechanism of toxicity to the putamen is not understood. Some postulate that striatal neurons have a varying sensitivity to toxic metabolites of methanol. However, this remains to be proven (LeWitt, 1988).

In addition, cases of axonal polyneuropathy in association with chronic exposure have been reported (Hageman, 1999). Further, motor neuron disease resembling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis has been documented in 1 case report (Chio, 2004).

Exact rates of morbidity and mortality from intoxication are not available.
Prognosis is correlated with the degree of metabolic acidosis (and the quantity of methanol ingested); more severe acidosis confers a poorer prognosis.
Direct correlation exists between the formic acid concentration and the morbidity and mortality.

Section 3 of 10     
Author Information  Introduction  Clinical  Differentials  Workup  Treatment  Medication  Follow-up  Miscellaneous  Bibliography

Time course
? Initial symptoms generally occur 12-24 hours after ingestion.
? The interval between ingestion and the appearance of symptoms is correlated with the volume of methanol ingested and the amount of ethanol concomitantly ingested; competitive inhibition exists between the two (Rathi, 2006). Methanol blood levels peak at 30-90 minutes following ingestion and are often not correlated with time to symptom appearance. The minimal lethal dose in adults is believed to be 1 mg/kg of body weight.
? In cases of altered mental status and intentional overdose, the diagnosis may be difficult without a high clinical index of suspicion.
Neurological manifestations
? Initially, the symptoms from methanol intoxication are similar to those of ethanol intoxication, often with disinhibition and ataxia.
? Following a latent period, patients may develop headache, nausea, vomiting, or epigastric pain.
? In later stages, drowsiness may rapidly progress to obtundation and coma.
? Seizures may occur, generally as a complication of the metabolic derangement or as a result of damage to the brain parenchyma.
? Methanol appears to affect the basal ganglia, primarily the putamen. With advanced neuroimaging techniques, the putaminal damage is detected much earlier in current practice than in the past.
Vision loss
? Blindness from methanol inhalation was described as early as 1910.
? Formic acid accumulates within the optic nerve, which results in classic visual symptoms of flashes of light and blurring. Subsequently, this may progress to scotomas and scintillations.
? Vision loss is thought to be caused by interruption of mitochondrial function in the optic nerve, resulting in hyperemia, edema, and optic nerve atrophy. Optic nerve demyelination has also been reported to be due to formic acid destruction of myelin.
? Patients initially may present with diminished visual acuity, which can progress to scotomata and scintillations.
? The frank blindness that develops sometimes responds to immediate therapy; however, complete loss of vision is a common sequela.

Physical: Physical examination helps to rule out other causes of altered mental status and visual dysfunction, the 2 most common presenting signs of methanol intoxication.
General physical examination
? During the initial phase, individuals may experience effects similar to inebriation with alcohol and thus do not seek medical attention. As symptoms develop, most signs are related to metabolic acidosis manifested as tachycardia, tachypnea, hypertension, and altered mental status.
? Pulmonary edema and acute respiratory distress may ensue, requiring intubation.
? With large ingestions, depressed cardiac contractility heralds circulatory collapse and leads to signs of heart failure, cardiac arrhythmias, or both.
Neurologic examination
? In addition to the progression from drowsiness to stupor to coma, ocular findings are prominent during a careful neurologic examination.
? Visual symptoms necessitate a thorough examination of the fundi.
? Optic disc hyperemia occurs early in the course of the methanol intoxication.
? Pupillary response to light is compromised and, subsequently, is lost. Little to no retinal damage is observed.

Causes: Methanol intoxication occurs in several discrete populations.
Accidental overdose can be seen in children. Methanol is found commonly in antifreeze, perfumes, paint solvents, photocopying fluid, and windshield washing fluid, all of which are readily available.
Alcoholic persons commonly consume methanol as a substitute for ethanol. The excessive consumption of methanol then leads to intoxication.
In many parts of the developing world, methanol is often a component of "bootlegged alcohol," which is made in rural regions. Because of its low cost, it is often consumed by those in lower socioeconomic classes.
In the industrial setting, inhalation of methanol fumes is a risk. It is used in the production of formaldehyde and shellac processing. In addition, it is used as an extractant in chemical processes and as a denaturant in ethanol (Rosenstock, 1994).
Suicide attempts using methanol are uncommon (Jacobsen, 1997).