Profile
Contact Information
Courses
Publications
Frank Vincenzi Profile

Fields of Research

  • Intracellular Signaling
  • Molecular Basis of Disease
  • Neurobiology and Behavior

Research Summary

The mammalian dive response involves activation of both parasympathetic and sympathetic divisions of the autonomic nervous system. Parasympathetic inhibition of the sino-atrial node (normal pacemaker) results in bradycardia. When bradycardia is coupled with sympathetic activation (which increases the automaticity of ventricular cells – abnormal pacemakers), there is an increased risk of triggering a fatal arrhythmia. The risk of sudden death is further increased if the QT interval of the electrocardiogram is prolonged. Congenital long QT syndrome as well as drug-induced long QT syndrome (or both) are implicated in a variety of sudden death scenarios. There are over 200 prescribed drugs that may may cause QT prolongation (see CredibleMeds).


Research Statement

As a retired faculty member, I no longer have access to a lab and ‘bench research’. However, thanks to the Internet, I am able to engage in ‘scholarly research’ and communicate and collaborate with researchers around the world. This has resulted in recent research regarding the role of the drug-induced long QT syndrome and/or activation of the mammalian dive reflex. Either one or both of these increase the risk of ventricular fibrillation and sudden death in a variety of situations. These include drowning, sudden infant death syndrome, and sudden unexpected death in epilepsy.


Awards and Honors

I recently published a commentary on the irrational basis of workplace urine tests for marijuana (Vincenzi, FF (2019) Marijuana, Workplace Drug Testing and the Adverse Drug Event – You Are Fired!, EC Pharmacology and Toxicology 7.4). Most such testing is based on a long-lasting, inactive metabolite of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that is present in urine long after the effects of marijuana are gone. A positive urine test for that inactive metabolite usually results in termination of employment. I urged adoption of new technologies that can screen for active THC in saliva. If the saliva test is presumptively positive, then a 10-microliter sample of blood may be obtained by non-medical personnel, dried, and mailed to a laboratory for identification and quantification of active THC.

Frank Vincenzi

Professor Emeritus

Affiliations

I have an ongoing collaboration with Professor Philippe Lunetta of the University of Turku in Finland. He is an expert on drowning. Unlike the State of Washington (and most other states in the U.S.), forensic toxicology is performed in essentially all drowning cases. That allowed us to identify alcohol and a number of prescribed drugs that contribute to deaths in water (‘drowning’); apparently by promoting fatal cardiac arrhythmias when coupled with the bradycardia of the dive response.

Explore more on social profiles

Why Pharmacology?

Frank Vincenzi

Professor Emeritus

Affiliations

I have an ongoing collaboration with Professor Philippe Lunetta of the University of Turku in Finland. He is an expert on drowning. Unlike the State of Washington (and most other states in the U.S.), forensic toxicology is performed in essentially all drowning cases. That allowed us to identify alcohol and a number of prescribed drugs that contribute to deaths in water (‘drowning’); apparently by promoting fatal cardiac arrhythmias when coupled with the bradycardia of the dive response.

Explore more on social profiles

Contact Information

Faculty

Box:
357750
Phone:
425-269-9219

Lab

Frank Vincenzi

Professor Emeritus

Affiliations

I have an ongoing collaboration with Professor Philippe Lunetta of the University of Turku in Finland. He is an expert on drowning. Unlike the State of Washington (and most other states in the U.S.), forensic toxicology is performed in essentially all drowning cases. That allowed us to identify alcohol and a number of prescribed drugs that contribute to deaths in water (‘drowning’); apparently by promoting fatal cardiac arrhythmias when coupled with the bradycardia of the dive response.

Explore more on social profiles

Courses

I taught in many different courses in Pharmacology, but am no longer involved in courses. I was also a founding member and Chairman of an elective conjoint course (UCONJ 531), in which I was heavily engaged for 10 years. The course was designed to decrease stress and increase empathy of future health professionals. A recent follow-up study found that ‘mindfulness’ was the most useful skill for current practitioners who were former students (Scott et al., J Complement Med Alt Healthcare, 9(1): 555750, 2019).

Frank Vincenzi

Professor Emeritus

Affiliations

I have an ongoing collaboration with Professor Philippe Lunetta of the University of Turku in Finland. He is an expert on drowning. Unlike the State of Washington (and most other states in the U.S.), forensic toxicology is performed in essentially all drowning cases. That allowed us to identify alcohol and a number of prescribed drugs that contribute to deaths in water (‘drowning’); apparently by promoting fatal cardiac arrhythmias when coupled with the bradycardia of the dive response.

Explore more on social profiles

Students/Postdocs

Frank Vincenzi

Professor Emeritus

Affiliations

I have an ongoing collaboration with Professor Philippe Lunetta of the University of Turku in Finland. He is an expert on drowning. Unlike the State of Washington (and most other states in the U.S.), forensic toxicology is performed in essentially all drowning cases. That allowed us to identify alcohol and a number of prescribed drugs that contribute to deaths in water (‘drowning’); apparently by promoting fatal cardiac arrhythmias when coupled with the bradycardia of the dive response.

Explore more on social profiles

Publications

Select Publications

Vincenzi, F.F., Lunetta, P. (2015) Citalopram-Induced Long QT Syndrome and the Mammalian Dive Reflex, Drug Saf. Case Rep. 2: 12 DOI.1007/s40800-015-0013-5.

Vincenzi, F.F. (2016) Drug-induced long QT syndrome increases the risk of drowning, Medical Hypotheses 87: 11-13.

Pajunen, T., Vuori, E., Lillsunde, P., Vincenzi, F.F., Smith, G., Lunetta, P. (2017) Unintentional drowning: Role of medicinal drugs and alcohol, BMC Public Health 17: 388, DOI 10.1186/s12889- 017-4306-8, https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-017-4306-8.

Vincenzi, F.F. (2018) Fatal drowning associated with QT prolongation caused by alcohol, some drugs, and congenital long QT syndrome: The role of the diving reflex. EC Pharmacology and Toxicology 6.7: 622-633.

Vincenzi, FF (2019) Sudden Unexpected Death and the Mammalian Dive Response: Catastrophic Failure of a Complex Tightly Coupled System. Front. Physiol. 10:97.doi: 10.3389/fphys.2019.00097.

Frank Vincenzi

Professor Emeritus

Affiliations

I have an ongoing collaboration with Professor Philippe Lunetta of the University of Turku in Finland. He is an expert on drowning. Unlike the State of Washington (and most other states in the U.S.), forensic toxicology is performed in essentially all drowning cases. That allowed us to identify alcohol and a number of prescribed drugs that contribute to deaths in water (‘drowning’); apparently by promoting fatal cardiac arrhythmias when coupled with the bradycardia of the dive response.

Explore more on social profiles