Funtabulously Frivolous Friday Five 002

Funtabulously Frivolous Friday Five 002

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.

Question 1

  • What causes a painful limb and acute pancreatitis in sugar cane harvesters in the West Indies?

  • The sting of Tityus trinitatis a scorpion endemic in Trinidad
  • Acute pancreatitis has been described after the sting of Tityus trinitatis (Waterman 1938, Poon-King 1963, Bartholomew 1979)
  • Studies confirm in vivo and in vitro dose-related venom-induced insulin secretion in rat pancreatic slices (Biochem Pharmacol 1983)

Question 2

  • If you are as cool as a cucumber how cool are you?

  • First recorded in John Gay’s Poems, New Song on New Similies, 1732

“I … cool as a cucumber could see The rest of womankind.”

  • It is generally written that high water content of the fruit keep them them ‘cool’ and moist inside. Core temperature measurements estimate that the inside of the cucumber is up to 20 degrees (F) cooler than the external environment.
  • However the contextual derivation of the phrase ‘cool as a cucumber’ remains ill-defined.
  • Alternatively the phrase may simply be an alliteration or habitual comparison. Roy J. Pearcy In an extended essay on English Idioms (1925) listed twenty-three “habitual comparisons” which he associated with other instances of inclusive phrases formed from the linking of alternatives. Expressions listed include “as cool as a cucumber” (reference)

Question 3

  • What is gleet?

  • The watery whitish discharge that oozes from the urethra in gonorrhoea
  • [Middle English glet, slime, from Old French glette, from Latin glittus, sticky.]

‘There was this Estella, a real drab, being given syph and gon and gleet by Augustus John, and Tommy has her living with him in that place of his in Earl’s Court and going to a doctor, nothing wrong with her actually but there might well have been, and he never touches her, you know.’ — Anthony BurgessEarthly Powers

Question 4

  • Why might the patient with alkaptonuria be useful to a photographer?

  • Their urine can be used to develop film as it contains homogentisic acid
  • Alkaptonuria is one of 4 disorders originally defined as an inborn error of metabolism by Archibald Garrod in his Croonian Lectures of 1902.
  • A defect in the HGD gene causes Alkaptonuria occurs when the absence of an enzyme prevents the breakdown of homogentisic acid. A large amount of homogentisic acid excreted in the urine causes it to turn black upon exposure to air. Garrod identified a familial pattern of inheritance and concluded that an inherited biochemical abnormality must result in the passage of an abnormal intermediate in the urine.
  • Other characteristics of alkaptonuria include arthritis and pigmentation of cartilage.

Question 5

  • What fish do Japanese sushi chefs need a licence to prepare?

  • The puffer fish
  • Puffer fish are the second most poisonous vertebrate in the world, the first being a Golden Poison Frog.
  • The skin and certain internal organs of many tetraodontidae are highly toxic to humans containing tetrodotoxin – a potent neurotoxin with no known antidote

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