More information about 'Excited Delirium'Posted: Updated:
The Spokane County Medical Examiner concluded Otto Zehm died of a heart attack while being restrained by police officers. The examiner said Zehm was in a prime position for a condition called Excited Delirium.
The term Excited Delirium was used widely during the cocaine craze of the 1980s, according to brain researcher Dr. Deborah Mash. Quoted in a CBS News article in 2003, Mash said the term described people who "acted wildly incoherently, completely out of control. Exhibiting super-strength. Babbling incoherently. Some individuals jumping on police cars. Breaking through plate-glass windows. Jumping off of second story buildings." Mash said many of the subjects she studied showed unexpected "hulk-like" strength.
In most cases, according to Mash, the condition was produced by drugs - such as cocaine or meth - that produced a high amount of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine, combined with adrenaline caused by a physical struggle, can create a deadly cocktail.
For more information about Excited Delirium and what other police departments around the country are doing about it, read the full report by 60 Minutes II here.
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