Sources of Very Obscure Death Scenes in Lethal Hypothermia
(abstract): “Hypothermia is a relatively rare cause of death in temperate climate zones. In most cases of lethal hypothermia, elderly and mentally ill persons are affected as well as persons under the influence of alcohol or other substances. Although most cases of death from hypothermia are accidental, they, more often than other types of death from environmental conditions, produce a death scene that is at first obscure and difficult to interpret. The reason for this frequent obscurity is mainly because of the phenomenon of the so-called paradoxical undressing as well as the hide-and-die syndrome. In many cases, the bodies are found partly or completely unclothed and abrasions and hematomas are found on the knees, elbows, feet, and hands. The reason for the paradoxical undressing is not yet clearly understood. There are two main theories discussed: one theory proposes that the reflex vasoconstriction, which happens in the first stage of hypothermia, leads to paralysis of the vasomotor center thus giving rise to the sensation that the body temperature is higher than it really is, and, in a paradoxical reaction, the person undresses. The other theory says that it seems to be the effect of a cold-induced paralysis of the nerves in the vessel walls that leads to a vasodilatation giving an absurd feeling of heat. In 20% of cases of lethal hypothermia, the phenomenon of the so-called hide-and-die syndrome also can be observed. Some of these bodies are situated in a kind of “hidden position,” for example, located under a bed or behind a wardrobe. Apparently, this finding is the result of a terminal primitive reaction pattern, which is probably an autonomous behavior triggered and controlled by the brain stem. It shows the characteristics of both an instinctive behavior and a congenital reflex.” (Forensic Pathology Reviews)
A Medline search on ‘paradoxical undressing’ leads to one citation from a 1979 Swedish paper.
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…It’s in His Tail (New York Times)
“President Vladimir V. Putin said Thursday that Russia would suspend its compliance with a treaty on conventional arms in Europe that was forged at the end of the cold war, opening a fresh and intense dispute in the souring relations between NATO and the Kremlin
The announcement …underscored the Kremlin’s anger at the United States for proposing a new missile defense system in Europe, which the Bush administration insists is meant to counter potential threats from North Korea and Iran.” (New York Times )
I would quibble with the Times calling this an issue between NATO and Russia. It seems to me that Putin’s enmity, and the responsibility for potentially restarting the Cold War, should be laid squarely at the feet of our national-embarrassment-in-chief in Washington. This may well prove to be one of the most enduring facets of the Bush legacy, along with the destruction of Iraq, the squandering of most of the international community’s goodwill toward the US, the sabotaging of a consensus against climate change, irreparable domestic polarization, and the visitation of the burdens of his fiscal irresponsibility on a generation to come in the US. Am I forgetting anything?