(210)Po poisoning as possible cause of death: forensic investigations and toxicological analysis of the remains of Yasser Arafat.

Details

Serval ID
serval:BIB_32C01A8CD44C
Type
Article: article from journal or magazin.
Collection
Publications
Institution
Title
(210)Po poisoning as possible cause of death: forensic investigations and toxicological analysis of the remains of Yasser Arafat.
Journal
Forensic science international
Author(s)
Froidevaux P., Bochud F., Baechler S., Castella V., Augsburger M., Bailat C., Michaud K., Straub M., Pecchia M., Jenk T.M., Uldin T., Mangin P.
ISSN
1872-6283 (Electronic)
ISSN-L
0379-0738
Publication state
Published
Issued date
02/2016
Peer-reviewed
Oui
Volume
259
Pages
1-9
Language
english
Notes
Publication types: Journal Article
Publication Status: ppublish

Abstract
The late president of the Palestinian Authority, Yasser Arafat, died in November 2004 in Percy Hospital, one month after having experienced a sudden onset of symptoms that included severe nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pain and which were followed by multiple organ failure. In spite of numerous investigations performed in France, the pathophysiological mechanisms at the origin of the symptoms could not be identified. In 2011, we found abnormal levels of polonium-210 ((210)Po) in some of Arafat's belongings that were worn during his final hospital stay and which were stained with biological fluids. This finding led to the exhumation of Arafat's remains in 2012. Significantly higher (up to 20 times) activities of (210)Po and lead-210 ((210)Pb) were found in the ribs, iliac crest and sternum specimens compared to reference samples from the literature (p-value <1%). In all specimens from the tomb, (210)Po activity was supported by a similar activity of (210)Pb. Biokinetic calculations demonstrated that a (210)Pb impurity, as identified in a commercial source of 3MBq of (210)Po, may be responsible for the activities measured in Arafat's belongings and remains 8 years after his death. The absence of myelosuppression and hair loss in Mr Arafat's case compared to Mr Litvinenko's, the only known case of malicious poisoning with (210)Po, could be explained by differences in the time delivery-scheme of intake. In conclusion, statistical Bayesian analysis combining all the evidence gathered in our forensic expert report moderately supports the proposition that Mr Arafat was poisoned by (210)Po.

Keywords
Bayes Theorem, Cause of Death, Famous Persons, Forensic Toxicology/methods, France, Humans, Lead Radioisotopes/analysis, Lead Radioisotopes/poisoning, Polonium/poisoning, Radioisotopes
Pubmed
Web of science
Open Access
Yes
Create date
30/12/2015 9:30
Last modification date
20/08/2019 14:18
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