Funtabulously Frivolous Friday Five 045

Challenging medical trivia to tickle your cerebellar tonsils and whimsy your way to cerebral hibernation for the weekend

Question 1

  • What was tested on orphans and condemned felons in Newgate before being given to the Royal family?

  • Inoculation against smallpox.

Question 2

  • What was the intended purpose of this macabre piece of equipment?

  • Tobacco Smoke Enema
  • The tobacco enema was used to infuse tobacco smoke into a patient’s rectum for various medical purposes, primarily the resuscitation of drowning victims.
  • A rectal tube inserted into the anus was connected to a fumigator and bellows that forced the smoke towards the rectum – the warmth of the smoke was thought to promote respiration…
  • However, it is uncertain as to whether the use of tobacco enemas led to the popular phrase “blow smoke up one’s ass.” [Reference: Ever Tried Smoking?]

One of the earliest and most graphic accounts of resuscitation by tobacco enema dates from 1746. A man’s wife was pulled from the water apparently dead. Amid much conflicting advice, a passing sailor proffered his pipe and instructed the husband to insert the stem into his wife’s rectum, cover the bowl with a piece of perforated paper, and “blow hard”. Miraculously, the woman revived. – Lawrence, G. Tobacco smoke enemas. The Lancet 2002;359:1442.

Question 3

  • Recent weather conditions in Queensland favour exposure to the bacteria that cause which disease?

  • Melioidosis
  • The flooding that has ravaged so much of northern Australia in the last few weeks brings a sting in the tail for those involved in the clean up, according to experts in the Northern Territory. They warn that care needs to be taken by anyone in contact with wet soil or muddy water. [Reference: Medical Observer]
  • The infection has been diagnosed in residents of towns and smaller communities across northern Australia or their livestock, from the Top End as far south as Toodyay in Western Australia and Towoomba in Queensland [Reference: Storms will come]

Question 4

  • What ‘natural antiseptic‘ in tears and saliva did Alexander Flemming identify some years before he discovered penicillin?

  • Lysozyme
  • Fleming then demonstrated that the substance had the properties of an enzyme. But what should it be called? Fleming’s boss, Sir Almroth Wright, who had a passion for Greek, decreed that as it was an enzyme, it must end in –zyme, and because it dissolved , or lysed, certain microbes, it was agreed to give it the name, lysozyme. [Reference: Discovery of Lysozyme]

Question 5

  • Which congenital heart condition did Leonardo Da Vinci report for the first time in 1513?

  • Atrial septal defect
  • ASDs have been recognised as early as the circulation was known with Leonardo da Vinci first documenting an ASD in a human postmortem.
  • Leonardo da Vinci’s description in 1513 of a “perforating channel” in the atrial septum is believed to be the first recorded account of a congenital malformation of the human heart. [Reference: NEJM]

…and remember kids…you can be alternative too…

Source: Science, Reason and Critical Thinking

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