Unnatural Causes? Brittany Murphy's Death Baffles

"If she is excessively thin," LuAnn White of Tulane Center for Applied Environmental Public Health added, "she may be anorexic or bulimic" and the restrictive food or liquid intake or chronic vomiting associated with these disorders could contribute to a "loss of fluids and salts that can induce cardiac arrhythmia and even cardiac arrest."

Several experts also said that Murphy's diabetes and a thyroid condition may have contributed to her death, though indirectly.

"If she had diabetes, it is possible that she had premature coronary artery disease" that could lead to a heart attack, said Dr. Brian Olshanky, professor of medicine at University of Iowa Hospitals. He also said a thyroid condition could have further complicated a viral infection of the heart, but he doubted that thyroid problems alone could have caused her death.

Most experts agreed that even if Murphy did have diabetes and/or thyroid issues, it was unlikely that these conditions were responsible for her death.

"People usually do not die from type 2 diabetes...or thyroid dysfunction unless they are chronically ill," said Dr. Bruce Goldberger, Director of Toxicology at the University of Florida College of Medicine.

Accidental Overdose or Something More?

"The most common causes of sudden death are abnormal heart beats," which can be caused by heart conditions, leg clots, hypertension, or even asthma, and aggravated by stimulants or thyroid medications, said Dr. Michael Roizen, chairman of Cleveland Clinic's Wellness Institute.

Other medical experts echoed this concern over a possible overdose of pharmaceutical drugs, especially considering the prescription medications Los Angeles coroner's office said they took from Murphy's home.

"Illegal or prescription drug overdose are commonly associated with cardiac arrest," said White, adding, "a drug overdose could be accidental, suicide, or homicide."

"Taking two, three, four different drugs and not [realizing] the cumulative effect...these are the things that classically kill people -- Anna Nicole Smith or Heath Ledger, for instance," Wecht said.

Since Sunday morning, the Los Angeles Police Department has launched an investigation into Murphy's death, LAPD spokeswoman Norma Eiseman said.

As in most high-profile cases, officers from the robbery and homicide division were sent to Murphy's home and Cedars-Sinai Hospital to figure out what went wrong.

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