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July 15, 1992

Medical Toxicology

Author Affiliations

Bellevue Hospital Center and New York University Medical Center, New York

JAMA. 1992;268(3):375-376. doi:10.1001/jama.1992.03490030087038

Medical toxicology is the study of physical and chemical agents and their effects on subcellular structures, living cells, and organisms. These effects define a toxicologic problem and are studied from dose-response and mechanistic perspectives. The field of medical toxicology is being considered for subspecialty recognition by the American Board of Medical Specialists. Post-residency fellowships in medical toxicology have been developed at 21 major medical centers and universities.

The body of knowledge that is medical toxicology includes the clinical manifestations, differential diagnoses, and treatments of acute poisoning (including accidental, suicidal, and substance abuse), acute and chronic exposure to toxins in the workplace, and exposure to environmental toxins. Medical toxicologists working in the country's regional poison centers and teaching hospitals apply this body of knowledge as they care for patients of all ages and backgrounds.

The Institute of Medicine has recommended that all primary care physicians improve awareness, understanding, and management of