Mass spectrometry sheds new light on thallium poisoning cold case

In 1994, Chinese university student Zhu Ling began experiencing stomach pain, hair loss and partial paralysis. By the time doctors diagnosed Ling with thallium poisoning about four months later, she was in a coma. Two decades after the poisoning, Richard Ash–an associate research scientist in the University of Maryland’s Department of Geology–used mass spectrometry to analyze several of Ling’s hairs collected in 1994 and 1995 and established a timeline of her poisoning.

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