On a day of historic destruction we look to provide some more light-hearted medical trivia to ease you into the weekend
- What psychoactive agent did pharmacoethnobotatnist Wade Davis describe as
“being shot out of a rifle barrell lined with baroque paintings and landing in a sea of electricity” and that it should not be considered hallucinogenic because after its taken “no one is home anymore to experience the hallucination”..[Reference]
- A psychedlic concotion used by Amazonian shamans…and rock stars. [The Poison Review Reference]
- Do identical twins have identical fingerprints?
- Fingerprints are not an entirely genetic characteristic.
- Fingerprinting, along with other physical characteristics, is an example of a phenotype and is thought to be determined by the interaction of an indivdual’s genes and the developmental environment in the uterus.
- The ultimate shape of fingerprints are believed to be influenced by environmental factors during pregnancy, like nutrition, blood pressure, position in the womb and the growth rate of the fingers at the end of the first trimester.
- Which disease was thought be due to ‘bad air’ (hence it’s name’ from the Pontine marshes around Rome?
- Mal-aria [Reference]
- In ancient literature, there exists a stark dichotomy between the safer hills and unsafe valleys, a threat they attributed to the air.
- In fact, malaria literally means “bad air” in Ital- ian.
- Cicero, writing in the late Republic, believes that “the site which [Romulus] chose is healthful, though in the midst of a pestilential region; for there are hills, which not only enjoy the breezes but at the same time give shade to the valley below” (Cicero, Ad Re Publica 2.6.11).
- What illness did Charles Darwin suffer from for over 50 years of his life?
- Cyclical vomiting syndrome
- During his voyages on the HMS Beagle, he was incapacitated by seasickness most of the time. Even on land, he suffered a variety of symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, intermittent abdominal pain, weakness and lethargy, headache, dizziness, visual disturbances, “inordinate flatulence” and diarrhea. At times, he was so disabled by his illness that he became a virtual recluse.
- Scholars examining Darwin’s life have speculated that he might have suffered such psychological conditions as hypochondria, panic disorders, “repressed anger toward his father” and guilt over his rejection of his early religious beliefs.
- Potential physical explanations include a middle ear infection, arsenic poisoning and a tropical parasitic disease.
- However, the best explanation for all his symptoms, according to Dr. John A. Hayman of Monash University in Melbourne [BMJ Reference] is cyclical vomiting syndrome
- CVS, which is caused by a mutation in a gene called MTTL1 in mitochondrial DNA. The disease “is neither well-known nor well-recognized,” he wrote, but is related to classical migraine without an aura. It is primarily a disease of children, but it may persist into adulthood or appear for the first time in adulthood. People with the disorder experience abdominal, circulatory and cerebral symptoms, including headaches and anxiety. [Reference]
- According to the Institute of Medicine estimates, how long does is take on average for the recommendations from randomised controlled trials to be implemented in clinical practice?
- 17 years
Institute of Medicine: Crossing the Quality Chasm. Washington, DC, National Academy Press, 2001 [Reference]
…and remember kids…don’t fear me baby, it’s just Brett Domino