When sudden death runs in the family

Anna Nicole Smith’s untimely death has Mickey from SimulConsult wondering if there’s a hereditary component:

Reality TV star and former model Anna Nicole Smith was pronounced dead Thursday after being taken to a Florida hospital, a law enforcement source told CNN.

Earlier this week, Smith was included in a class-action lawsuit against a company, TrimSpa, for which she had worked as a spokesperson. TrimSpa makes a product it claims leads to substantial weight loss. The lawsuit alleges the marketing of the product, TrimSpa X32, was false or misleading.Smith’s son, Daniel Wayne Smith, died at age 20 just days after the birth of Smith’s daughter. Pathologist Cyril Wecht said a lethal dose of methadone and antidepressants caused cardiac dysrhythmia, leading to his death.

Two odd deaths in a family raise the possibility of inherited diseases such as the Cardiac Long QT syndrome or a hereditary cardiac malformation. Sudden death in the Long QT syndrome can be triggered by a variety of drugs.

We should have a lot more information soon, but if this is due to the Long QT syndrome this may raise the awareness of a molecular group of diseases that so far includes heart arrhythmias, muscle diseases, forms of epilepsy, pain disorders and forms of migraine.

February 8, 2007

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