Funtabulously Frivolous Friday Five 047

Here we go again… time to prepare for the weekend by silencing the “snap! crackle! pop!” of your apoptosing neurons by rejuvenating them with a taste of the FFFF!

Question 1

  • What is Stigler’s law?

  • Stigler’s law of eponymy, in its simplest and strongest form, says: “No scientific discovery is named after its original discoverer.” It is also known as the “Rule of the Lesser Attribution.” [Examples of Stigler’s Law]
  • Scientific observations and results are often associated with people who have high visibility and social status, and are named long after their discovery. Eponymy is a striking example of this phenomenon. Important scientific observations are often associated with a person who did not actually make the original discovery. [Reference]
  • Stigler himself, in a classic example of Hofstadterian self-referentiality, attributes the discovery of Stigler’s Law to Robert K. Merton.

Hat tip to Valender Turner, who pointed out to us that Q3 of FFFF 046 was an example of Stigler’s Law.

Question 2

  • In Australia, people of which nationality are thought most likely to experience sudden death from torsade de pointes, and why?

  • The French.
  • Anecdotal evidence suggests the NNH for mortality is about 5 when a French person hears an Australian doctor’s pronunciation of ‘torsade de pointes’.
    [Hat tip to Robert Dunn’s ‘Emergency Medicine Manual‘]

Question 3

  • Exposure to which of the following is most likely to result in ultraviolet keratopathy without eye protection: the beach, the snow, or Mike Cadogan’s head at a Western Force rugby game?

  • Snow
  • Sea foam reflects about 25% of UV and sandy beaches about 15%, whereas fresh snow reflects about 80% of UV. Attempts to measure the UV reflectance of the Cadogan scalp has so far been hindered by equipment failure…
  • LITFL links: A Change of Direction and Blinded by the Light: UV keratopathy.

Question 4

  • What is the likely diagnosis?

  • Argyrosis (also known as argyrism or argyria)
  • This is caused by the deposition of silver in the skin (see Off to See the Wizard…? and Dermnet NZ: Argyria)
  • Image source:
    Tomi NS, Kränke B, Aberer W. A silver man. Lancet. 2004 Feb 14;363(9408):532 [The Lancet]

Question 5

  • What is dermcidin?

  • Dermcidin is an antimicrobial peptide found in human sweat coded by the DCD gene. It has a broad spectrum of activity and no homology to other known antimicrobial peptides. It is toxic to various bugs including Escherichia coli, Enterococcus faecalis, Staphylococcus aureus, and Candida albicans.
  • Telling a patient with an infection to ‘sweat it out’ might actually be good advice!
  • References:
    Josefson D. Bacteria killer found in sweat. Brit Med J 2001;323:1206-7) PMCID: PMC1173041
    Schittek B, et al. Dermcidin: a novel human antibiotic peptide secreted by sweat glands. Nat Immunol. 2001 Dec;2(12):1133-7. PMID: 11694882.

…and remember kids… in an emergency, do it in style!




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  1. says

    Another example of Stigler’s Law -- Wellens’ Syndrome. Hein JJ Wellens was 3rd author on the paper describing this phenomenon.
    de Zwaan C, Bär FW, Wellens HJ. Characteristic electrocardiographic pattern indicating a critical stenosis high in left anterior descending coronary artery in patients admitted because of impending myocardial infarction. Am Heart J. 1982 Apr;103(4 Pt 2):730-6. PMID: 6121481