Just when you thought your brain could unwind on a Friday, you realise that it would rather be challenged with some good old fashioned medical trivia. The format is starting to take shape – we will be trying to post questions on:
- Rare or eponymous syndromes
- Medical history or biography
- Bizarre and ‘out there’ medical trivia to baffle your colleagues
- Which Roman Emperor’s son died from upper airway obstruction – after choking on a pear he’d thrown into the air and caught in his mouth?
- The Emperor Claudius
- Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (1 August 10 BC – 13 October AD 54). His son to his first wife, the exceptionally ugly Urgulanilla, was the short-lived Claudius Drusus, who died this most unfortunate death while just a teenager.
- Who said ”My life is in the hands of any rascal who chooses to annoy or tease me” and why?
- Dr John Hunter (1728-1793)
- The Scotsman John Hunter is one of the greatest anatomists in history, he brought science to the art of surgery, is remembered as the most infamous of the resurrection men, and once described semen held in the mouth as “having a warmth similar to spices”.
- Hunter suffered from angina pectoris and was not known for his ability to suffer fools well. As usual, he was right… Hunter died of a heart attack while attending a board meeting, during which he became irate at the opposition to the appointment of his successor at St. George’s Hospital.
- What biological toxin, on a pound-for-pound basis, has the potential to kill more humans than any other?
- Botulinum toxin
- There are a few different types of botulinum toxin (A to F) produced by the spore-forming gram positive bacillus Clostridium botulinum.
- Botulinum toxin acts presynaptically to prevent the release of acetylcholine. Consequently the effects include autonomic dysfunction and a progressive flaccid paralysis with early bulbar involvement.
- By extrapolation from primate studies, the lethal amounts of crystalline type A toxin for a 70-kg human would be approximately 0.09-0.15 µg intravenously or intramuscularly, 0.70-0.90 µg inhalationally, and 70 µg orally.
- Arnon SS, et al: Botulinum toxin as a biological weapon: Medical and public health management. JAMA 2001; 285:1059 [Reference]
- What is abarognosis?
- Loss of the ability to sense weight
- Perhaps more correctly the loss of ability to appreciate the weight of objects held in the hand, or to differentiate among objects of different weights.
- When the primary senses are intact, caused by a lesion of the contralateral parietal lobe.
- [G. a- priv. + baros, weight, + gnosis, knowledge] - Note that In the diphthong gn, the g is silent only at the beginning of a word.
- In 1816 who used a stiff roll of paper as the first example of a now ubiquitous piece of medical equipment?
- Rene Laennec - The Stethoscope
- René-Théophile-Hyacinthe Laennec (1781-1826) revolutionised the examination of the chest with the first stethoscope.
- Physicians no longer needed to press their ears against the chests of their patients to auscultate the chest and accurate clincopathophysiological correlation became possible.