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Coroner: Lack of Oxygen, Not Peanut Butter, Killed Girl

A lack of oxygen to the brain likely played a role in the death of a teenager once thought to have died of a peanut allergy after kissing her boyfriend who had just eaten peanut butter, a Quebec coroner said Monday.

Coroner Michel Miron told The Associated Press that it appeared that Christina Desforges, 15, had suffered from "cerebral anoxia," or a lack of oxygen to the brain, which caused serious damage.

He provided no further details — other than to say that no foul play was suspected in Desforges' death — because he has yet to submit a final report to the provincial coroner's office.

Desforges had asthma and believed she was suffering from an asthma attack before she collapsed. When asked to comment on whether asthma may have cut oxygen to her brain, Miron said he could not discuss that part of the investigation.

Desforges died in a Quebec hospital in November. Officials at the time had said that doctors were unable to treat her allergic reaction to a kiss from her boyfriend the previous weekend.

On Friday, Miron announced that peanut butter had not caused Desforges' death.

Miron said he felt compelled to counter incorrect claims that injections used to treat allergic reactions were ineffective.

"People thought the girl had not used her (adrenaline shot) properly and families were panicking because they thought it wouldn't always work," he said, insisting that the drug's effectiveness was never in doubt.

Miron said the girl and her boyfriend had kissed, but many hours after he ate peanut butter. By then, he had eaten popcorn and drunk beer, generating saliva that would have cleansed his mouth before the kiss, Miron said.