Authors' Note: Erethismus (irritation) mercurialis, synonym for mercurialism, was well-known by Lewis Carroll's time, as signs of chronic poisoning had become common among workers in the hatting industry in which salts of mercury were used in the felting of furs; his character, the 'Mad Hatter' reflects the prevalent stereotype.
In the US, hat-making was centered in the Connecticut town of Danbury, where the majority of long-term workers were subject to the 'Danbury shakes' as well as other neuropsychiatric manifestations. The plant continued in operation, including the dumping of wastewater effluent, until the early 1940s. It closed at that time due to staffing shortages and the need for mercury in the armaments industry.
Digoxin, a cardiac glycoside derived initially from the garden plant digitalis (foxglove), has been used to treat chronic congestive heart failure and to control the heart rate in atrial fibrillation. During the author's professional lifetime, there has been a major reduction in the death-rate and in the incidence of hospital admissions for digoxin poisoning, also known as digitoxicity. This improvement is due to more judicious assessment of factors, e.g. decreasing kidney function, that may result in increasing blood levels of the drug, but also to limitation of the drug's use as alternatives have become available.
Authors' Note: Occasionally, the shock of reality may help a victim of substance abuse, like Seth, to focus on his plight. A more professional discussion of drug addiction by SheilaB may be enlightening.
AND, HERE'S A LIST OF LINKS to collections of intriguing verses on other medical/dental topics that can now be found on various posts including: