Medicine: The Magnesium Connection

Harvard scientists offer an explanation for toxic shock

Almost out of the blue, toxic shock syndrome appeared in the U.S. in the late 1970s, spreading fear among women and baffling scientists. The disease, which reached its peak in 1980, when 890 cases were reported, occurred primarily in menstruating women, though men and children could also be affected. Toxic shock could strike with appalling speed, progressing in a matter of hours from fever and dizziness to a strange, sunburn-like rash and a drop in blood pressure so severe that the victim might go into shock. For about 4% of patients, TSS proved fatal. Scientists quickly linked the disease to the...

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