Funtabulously Frivolous Friday Five 001

Funtabulously Frivolous Friday Five 001

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 word trivia is derived from the Latin word trivium which means tri-three, via -way, i.e. where three ways meet namely grammar, rhetoric and logic. So sit back, relax and see how much trivia you can dig out of that noggin.

Question 1

  • What is Melkersonn’s Syndrome?

  • Melkersson’s Syndrome or Melkersson–Rosenthal syndrome
  • Rare familial neurological disorder characterized by recurrent facial paralysis, swelling of the face and lips (usually the upper lip), and the development of folds and furrows in the tongue.
  • 1901 Grigorii Ivanovich Rossolimo first made reference to the triad of symptoms in a woman suffering from migraine
  • 1928 Ernst Gustaf Melkersson reported an association between recurrent facial paralysis and angioneurotic oedema
  • 1930 Curt Rosenthal added lingua plicata (hypertrophy and fissuring of the tongue) to complete the triad of features
Lingula Plicata

Lingula Plicata

Question 2

  • In the 1970’s what caused disco felon?

  • Repeated finger-snapping at discos (so think twice before hitting the club tonight)
  • A felon is a painful purulent infection at the end of a finger
  • 1979 First reported in the NEJM
    • Walker FW, Lillemoe KD, Farquharson RR. Disco felon. N Engl J Med. 1979 Jul 19;301(3):166-7.
'Spokane Daily Chronicle' July 1979 Disco Felon

‘Spokane Daily Chronicle’ July 1979

Question 3

  • Which poison killed the Bulgarian dissident writer Georgi Markov?

  • Ricin – injected via an umbrella pellet gun on Thursday, September 7th, 1978 at 1.30pm at the south end of Waterloo Bridge, London.
  • Ricin is a ribosome-inactivating protein found in castor beans (Ricinus communis).
  • Ricin is a toxin that is fatal to humans in extremely small doses. The lethal dose for Ricin is 1 milligram (inhaled or ingested) and 500 micrograms (intravenous).

Ricin Umbrella (International Spy Museum)

Question 4

  • From what animals do cats catch cowpox?

  • Rodents
  • Cats get cowpox infections by being bitten by voles and wood mice.
  • Infected cats do not usually manifest any signs or symptoms of the disease.
  • Transmission to humans is rare.

Question 5

  • With what nerve gas were commuters poisoned on the underground train system in Tokyo in 1995?

  • Subway Sarin Incident (地下鉄サリン事件, Chikatetsu Sarin Jiken)
  • Sarin is a nerve agent first produced by German scientists in 1938
  • Sarin is a colourless, odourless gas with a lethal dose of just 0.5mg for an adult human (or 0.01mg/kg of body weight)
Sarin Nerve Agent (GB)

Sarin Nerve Agent (GB)

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