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Novichok and Psychopharmacology

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posted on Apr, 6 2018 @ 10:25 AM
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Reading through the threads about the attempted assassination-via-Novichok I've noticed a fair bit of misinformation being spread. Now Novichok, as are pretty much every nerve agent, is a psychotropic drug. A psychotropic drug is any drug that has an effect on the brain. In this case Novichok causes the brain to overproduce the neurotransmitter Acetylcholine. This neurotransmitter has a number of functions but it's primary one is causing the motor neurons in all of your muscles to fire. Put another way, it pretty much tells your muscles to move.

Since Novichok is a psychotropic agent we can look to the basics of psychopharmacology to understand why things went down the way they did in Salisbury. Most importantly I'm going to focus on route of administration. While every form of a drug is going to have a similar effect the route in which it is administered has a large impact on how those effects are experienced. A basic principle to follow in almost every case is that the faster a drug reaches the brain the faster and more pronounced the effects will be felt. It also means that while those effects are more intense, they will also dissipate at a much faster rate.

Generally speaking the fastest route of administration is through intravenous injection. The time it takes for the drug to reach the brain and effects to be felt are near instantaneous. Those effects also reach their peak very quickly. This is why junkies that shoot heroin get a much more intense but shorter high than those that smoke it. From there, inhalation takes longer to reach the brain than injection. Transmucosal (snorting) takes longer than inhalation. Through the gastrointestinal tract takes longer than through mucous membranes. And finally, through the skin takes longer than through the gastrointestinal tract.

Knowing this is important because it appears the Novichok in this case was administered transdermally. It was applied to the door handle and once touched began making its way through the victims skin, in to the blood stream, and ultimately in to the brain. While a poison gas or injection can reach the brain and have a profound effect in a matter of seconds at most, it will take a transdermal application 30 minutes before the drug even reaches the brain. It will then take even more time before the peak effects are felt.

This explains why the victims in this case were able to go about their day for a while before succumbing to the agent. My guess is that throughout the day they started feeling worse and worse with no idea why. By the time they reached the bench their muscles were spasming so much they needed to sit down. Eventually they collapsed into unconsciousness when their heart was beating too fast to supply enough blood to the rest of the body.

These basics of psychopharmacology could also partially explain why the effects of the agent were not as lethal as one would expect. A transdermally applied dose of Novichok is going to have a much less dramatic effect on the brain than if it had been inhaled in a gaseous form. This fact is probably what gave medical personnel enough time to begin administering treatment. Which in this case would be atropine, a drug that blocks acetylcholine at muscarinic receptors.




posted on Apr, 6 2018 @ 10:33 AM
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a reply to: Xcalibur254


Thank you for a very well informed and thoughtful post. Makes a change for this subject!



posted on Apr, 6 2018 @ 10:45 AM
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a reply to: Xcalibur254


Thanks for a great opening post.
It's an interesting subject, been reading bits about it since the now "attempted" assassination.



posted on Apr, 6 2018 @ 10:49 AM
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a reply to: Xcalibur254

Thanks for a perfect explanation.

I think they would have called for medical assistance before they were incapable of speech. That's why I have my doubts about the official story.



posted on Apr, 6 2018 @ 10:49 AM
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The daughter seems to be much better and now so is her father - latest update here:-

Update on Skripal - Salisbury Journal



posted on Apr, 6 2018 @ 10:51 AM
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a reply to: Xcalibur254

Thanl you for this explanation, it helps a lot. Do you think it odd that the Novichok seemed to effect 33 year old Yulia at the same rate as 66 year old Sergei, given that they would have different immune systems?



posted on Apr, 6 2018 @ 10:53 AM
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a reply to: djz3ro


But the daughter recovered quicker than her father did?



posted on Apr, 6 2018 @ 11:03 AM
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a reply to: djz3ro

Their immune systems would have nothing to do with fighting off the agent. Much like with every other drug a person may take, the immune system doesn't recognize Noivchok as an outside invader. And even if it did there's not really anything it could do. Novichok is a chemical compound, it's not a living organism. So unless the immune system has a way to break down the compound before it reaches its destination, which it doesn't, there's nothing it can do.



posted on Apr, 6 2018 @ 11:29 AM
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a reply to: Xcalibur254


Are you sure this works with a military grade contact nerve agent?


-At 13:30 his car was seen driving down Devizes Road, towards the town centre

-Mr Skripal and his daughter arrived at the Sainsbury's upper level car park at the Maltings shopping precinct at 13:40

-Police said the pair went to The Mill pub before going to Zizzi restaurant at 14:20, where they stayed until 15:35

-At 16:15 emergency services received the first report of an incident

-Police found the pair on a bench outside Zizzi in an "extremely serious condition"

-Det Sgt Nick Bailey, who fell ill after attending the incident, was treated in hospital but discharged on 22 March

www.bbc.com...


Sgt Baileys poisoning timeline was afaik not published, why?

This comes imho closest: www.theguardian.com...




edit on 6-4-2018 by greyhat because: .



posted on Apr, 6 2018 @ 11:37 AM
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a reply to: greyhat

It's going to apply to any kind of drug. Just because something is a military-grade weapon doesn't change the amount of time it takes for it be absorbed through the skin and reach the brain.



posted on Apr, 6 2018 @ 12:03 PM
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originally posted by: Xcalibur254
a reply to: greyhat

It's going to apply to any kind of drug.


And stupid me thought this was a question of the agents volatility (which is afaik between vx and sarin with novichok class agents).



posted on Apr, 6 2018 @ 12:14 PM
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Noivchok is basically a very potent organophosphate with a nitrogen group added. It permanently binds acetylcholinesterase. A cigarette can temporarily bind acetylcholineesterase and keep organophates from binding to all of it. Nicotine can't cure the problem but might give you more time to get help from the doctor. I would think that a thiol might be able to help a bit, but that is a very potent toxin.

If you inhibit acetylcholinesterase, it raises acetylcholine to a super high level. An acetylcholinesterase promotor like paxil and other antidepressants probably won't work. Those antidepressants/antianxiety meds are only strong enough to counteract regular organophosphate pesticides and the residue of glyphosate that is on grains that have been preharvest sprayed to kill fungus. You wonder how come so many people need to be on anti-anxiety drugs and antidepressant meds these days.



posted on Apr, 6 2018 @ 02:54 PM
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There's only 2 viable scenarios to my mind:

1/ Putin's being set up. My reason: Whatever Putin is, he does not strike me as stupid. Only a stupid assassin would use a weapon that can immediately point the finger back at them. Sure, it's not been proven it came from Russia, but it was obvious that assertion would be made, so why not use another more anonymous means of execution?

2/ Putin wanted to be blamed, knowing/hoping it could not be proven, in order to send a message to those that betray him.



posted on Apr, 6 2018 @ 06:01 PM
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a reply to: Xcalibur254

I don't really know very much about Novichok. I do know that acetylcholine is dispersed throughout the body as part of the peripheral nervous system. I'm not even sure the lethal effect is dependent upon any action within the brain at all. It might directly affect the peripheral nerves themselves. Even if it does also poison acetylcholine in the brain, I don't know if this would be a psychopharmacological effect although it certainly would kill you. By that thinking we could call a gunshot wound to the head a psychopharmacological event.



posted on Apr, 6 2018 @ 06:07 PM
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a reply to: Xcalibur254

Really what the later part of your post describes is more like pharmacodynamics or even pharmacokinetics.



posted on Apr, 6 2018 @ 07:02 PM
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a reply to: Xcalibur254

Sounds fishy. Literally.

Why weren't the pets exposed/killed? Why wasn't UK authorities concerned with the obvious pets?

Why use a chemical weapon with an obvious and spooky sounding Russian name? Why not use something widely available that any terrorist-chemist can concoct in the bathtub, so to speak? VX, Sarin, or even some organic biological toxins (based on reading material @ DHS).

Could be a Russian assassination plot, but their proximity to Porton Down facility strikes a nerve in the skeptical part of my brain. Along with the rapid accusations (appeared propaganda-ish, remember the ricin scare when MOD used it as an excuse to deploy tanks/soldiers at Heathrow?) and a refusal to provide samples of the agent for independent analysis/verification of facts in accordance with existing treaties and International norms.

Besides, Russian prefer radioactive elements as their weapons of choice. Especially if, as some have hypothesized, Russia wanted to "put the World on notice." If this were the case, they'd have certainly used an agent with an assured effectiveness (including no real treatment) such as Polonium.

Then again, that's just the "conspiracy theorist" in me talking...
edit on 4/6/2018 by JBurns because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 7 2018 @ 03:19 PM
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a reply to: McGinty
There are others without involving Putin. What if it was one of the Russian agents he ratted out on coming for some payback?
Something that no one has suggested, what if Skripal himself wanted it for a "job"? His daughter could have bought it from Russia on her visit to him?
What if this was a false flag? A certain government wanting eyes looking elsewhere while doing other things or trying to recoup some credibility?
Remember this, as an assasination it was a complete failure. Yes the victims were hospitalised, but they seem to be making a complete recovery with no after effects.



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