The history of ergot of rye (Claviceps purpurea) I: From antiquity to 1900

This article outlines the history of ergot of rye up to 1900. Ergot is a fungal disease that affects many grasses but is particularly damaging to rye. It occurs as the result of an infection by the parasitic organism Claviceps purpurea, which produces characteristic black spurs on the grass. When incorporated into grain, the ergot fungus can cause severe outbreaks of poisoning in humans called ergotism.

Digital gangrene in a patient with primary Raynaud’s phenomenon

Digital gangrene is not usually associated with primary Raynaud’s phenomenon (RP). Its presence should therefore alert the healthcare provider to look for an alternative explanation. A 19-year-old female patient with primary RP developed digital gangrene following surgical management of acute paronychia. The possible mechanism in this patient appears to be the augmentation of the vasoconstrictive response due to the local infiltration of epinephrine mixed with lignocaine prior to the incision and drainage of her infected finger.