Funtabulously Frivolous Friday Five 013

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

Question 1

  • What is the cause of Dum-Dum fever?

  • Leishmaniasis
  • Leishmaniasis is caused by parasitic protozoa of the genus Leishmania.
  • Humans are infected via the bite of phlebotomine sandflies, which breed in forest areas, caves, or the burrows of small rodents.
  • In 1901, William Boog Leishman identified certain organisms in smears taken from the spleen of a patient who had died from “Dum-Dum fever” (Dum Dum is an area close to Calcutta) and proposed them to be trypanosomes, found for the first time in India

Question 2

  • Michael Jackson’s suffered from which skin condition derived from the latin word for veal?

Question 3

  • How long should a snake be kept fasted (nil by mouth) pre-operatively?

  • 5 days

Question 4

  • What might one smoke to induce acute diffuse alveolar haemorrhage?

  • Crack‘ i.e. Cocaine
  • R J Murray, R J Albin, W Mergner, G J Criner. Diffuse alveolar hemorrhage temporally related to cocaine smoking. Chest 1988;93;427-429 Reference [PDF]

Question 5

  • What is the Will Rogers phenomenon?

  • The Will Rogers phenomenon is an epidemiological paradox that occurs when moving an element from one set to another set raises the average values of both sets.
  • The best example is Sir Robert Muldoon’s (former Prime Minister of New Zealand) response to a query about trans-Tasman migration:
    • “New Zealanders who emigrate to Australia raise the IQ of both countries.”
  • The ‘Will Rogers phenomenon‘ is named after a remark made by the humorist Will Rogers who had similar views to Muldoon about migration from Oklamhoma to California during the American economic depression of the 1930′s.
  • The name was proposed in 1985 by Alvan Feinstein to describe the ‘stage migration’ he observed in patients with cancer. It has since been described as occurring ina many conditions, including multiple sclerosis with the advent of the imaging-assisted McDonald criteria.
  • The phenomenon is dangerous as improvements in prognosis over time may be spuriously attributed to treatments rather than stage migration.

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