AW: AW: [ RadSafe ] TMI - reported "metallic taste"

Rainer.Facius at Rainer.Facius at
Tue Feb 14 06:22:45 CST 2006


In an attempt to find some of the literature you alluded to, I just found the two references below, both case reports pertaining to a "non-anaphylactic" 'shock' reaction to procaine penicillin.

Can you provide some more pointers to your literature?

BTW: The second reference offers an interesting mechanistic hypothesis as to causes contributing to such syndromes:

"The cultural acceptance of the reality of 'mysterious' forces played a role in the syndrome."

Doesn't "'mysterious' forces" yield a perfect characterization of the layman's radiophobia of low dose and low dose rate exposures?  :-) 

And furthermore, what does it tell us about our culture?  :-(

Best regards, Rainer

Lankin DL, Jewell GM, Grinvalsky HT, Fye DL.
Psychotic-like reaction to procaine penicillin G.
(Annals of Emergency Medicine) Ann Emerg Med. 12#8(1983)507-9

Publication Types: Case Reports

A patient developed a psychotic-like reaction immediately after receiving an intramuscular injection of procaine penicillin G. The patient complained of a metallic taste, dizziness, ringing of the ears, and the fear of imminent death. No cardiovascular or pulmonary disturbances were noted. The reaction and all symptoms resolved within 15 minutes, and the patient has reported no further episodes. The case and a review of the literature are presented.

Ilechukwu ST.
Acute psychotic reactions and stress response syndromes following intramuscular aqueous procaine penicillin.
Br J Psychiatry. 156(1990)554-9.

Publication Type: Case Reports

Acute non-anaphylactic reactions to procaine penicillin include fear of death, sensations of disintegration, perceived changes of body shape, and visual and auditory hallucinations. Fragments of the original reaction experience, or elaborations of it, feature prominently in a chronic syndrome which persists if the initial reaction is not supported emotionally or professionally. The cultural acceptance of the reality of 'mysterious' forces played a role in the syndrome. Compatible diagnostic labels were panic disorder, post-traumatic disorder, mixed phobic disorder, and depressive illness. The observed period prevalence rate is 5.9 per 1,000.


Dr. Rainer Facius
German Aerospace Center
Institute of Aerospace Medicine
Linder Hoehe
51147 Koeln
Voice: +49 2203 601 3147 or 3150
FAX:   +49 2203 61970

-----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
Von: Syd H. Levine [mailto:syd.levine at] 
Gesendet: Dienstag, 14. Februar 2006 07:13
An: John Jacobus; Facius, Rainer; bcradsafers at; radsafe at
Betreff: Re: AW: [ RadSafe ] TMI - reported "metallic taste"

A simple explanation can be found in literature.  The "taste of fear" has been described as metallic, and some times as the taste of copper.  I don't think it is surprising that these folks, many scared to death, had a metallic taste in their mouths.

Syd H. Levine
AnaLog Services, Inc.
Phone:  (270) 276-5671
Telefax:  (270) 276-5588
E-mail:  analog at
Web URL:

----- Original Message -----
From: "John Jacobus" <crispy_bird at>
To: <Rainer.Facius at>; <bcradsafers at>; <radsafe at>
Sent: Monday, February 13, 2006 2:59 PM
Subject: Re: AW: [ RadSafe ] TMI - reported "metallic taste"

>A confounding factor also be the way the information
> was gathered.  One could ask of a resident around TMI,
> "Did you notice anything different?"  Alternately, one
> could ask, "Did you notice anything different, like a
> metallic taste?" hinting to iodine or some other
> factor.  If people believe that they were harmed,
> their memories become a bit clouded.  Or biased.
> --- Rainer.Facius at wrote:
>> Bjorn:
>> Thank you for communicating this interesting or
>> rather astounding self experience. Rainer
>> Dr. Rainer Facius
>> German Aerospace Center
>> Institute of Aerospace Medicine
>> Linder Hoehe
>> 51147 Koeln
>> Voice: +49 2203 601 3147 or 3150
>> FAX:   +49 2203 61970
>> -----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
>> Von: radsafe-bounces at
>> [mailto:radsafe-bounces at] Im Auftrag von
>> Bjorn Cedervall
>> Gesendet: Montag, 13. Februar 2006 16:48
>> An: radsafe at
>> Betreff: RE: [ RadSafe ] TMI - reported "metallic
>> taste"
>> >In reports from TMI, some residents mentioned
>> noticing
>> a "metallic taste."
>> Can anyone give me a physiological basis for this?
>> ---
>> I would build a hypothesis on a psychosomatic
>> mechanism.
>> To take a different example, I spoke in depth (40
>> minutes) with a so-called electrohypersensitive
>> person (he is not a nuts type, basically a smart
>> engineer) about his problems a week ago. He is at
>> one of my workplaces and has been so for many years
>> so I know him a little (large workplace - thousands
>> of employees). I knew that he had problems with the
>> computer environment and other electronic equipment.
>> Now I decided to hear his ideas about the
>> mechanisms. He promptly first  responded
>> "psychosomatic".
>> Then he went on and told me that he for some time
>> had lived out in the countryside with very little of
>> electrical gadgets around etc and he felt much
>> better. Then one day - when he thought about his job
>> - he almost immediately got the
>> "electrohypersensitivity" symptoms back.
>> Besides this he mainly pointed at general stress +
>> perhaps flickering light tubes (low frequency). He
>> is well read about most aspects relating to the
>> controversy.
>> Bearing this in mind - and going back to the
>> "metallic taste". Why not an associative mechanism -
>> something happening in the mind?
>> I can take something different from myself: When I
>> was a kid I had a lot of
>> these legless lizards (Anguis fragilis):
>> I was only allowed to bring two to Stockholm during
>> winter (and outsmarted
>> my parents by always including a pregnant
>> female...). I kept these in a
>> small terrarium and fed them with earthworms etc.
>> From that came a certain
>> smell that I obviously accepted and got used to.
>> This was in the early
>> 1960:ies and I used to listen to the pop music of
>> that time.
>> Now to the point: If I today, more than 40 years
>> later, hear some of those
>> pop songs, they trigger my mind to give me a
>> sensation of the smell of that
>> lizard installation.
>> I am pretty sure that our minds can stand for all
>> sorts of "automatic"
>> associations (just think about dreams!) - so why not
>> a metallic paranoia?
>> Just my personal reflections,
>> Bjorn Cedervall   bcradsafers at
> +++++++++++++++++++
> "It is not the job of public-affairs officers to alter, filter or
> adjust engineering or scientific material produced by NASA's technical
> staff."
> MICHAEL D. GRIFFIN, NASA administrator.
> -- John
> John Jacobus, MS
> Certified Health Physicist
> e-mail:  crispy_bird at
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