It’s time for your booster shot of Vitamin FFFF!
Have you found yourself running low on frivolity over the course of the week? What about your levels of funtabulousness? Unfortunately Friday only comes once a week, so we’d better make sure this shot of FFFF is a good one…
Q1. How far can head lice jump?
- They don’t jump
- Head lice are probably spread by direct head-to-head contact and fomites. However, the concept that head lice are transmitted by the slightest contact is a largely a myth.
- In the lab, a head louse sitting on one hair will only transfer to another hair that is rubbed against it for a few seconds about 1 in 14 times (7%).
- When it does transfer it doesn’t jump, it just grips it with a claw and shuffles across.
- Canyon DV, Speare R, Muller R. Spatial and kinetic factors for the transfer of head lice (Pediculus capitis) between hairs. J Invest Dermatol. 2002 Sep;119(3):629-31. PMID: 12230505.
Q2. Which doctor is ‘credited’ with the concept of ‘humane execution’?
- Joseph Ignace Guillotin (1739-1814)
- Guillotin apparently belonged to a small reform movement that sought to banish the death penalty. However, according to WhoNamedIt.com:
“On October 10th 1789 – the second day of the debate about France’s penal code – Guillotin proposed six articles to the new Legislative Assembly. In one of them he proposed that “the criminal shall be decapitated; this will be done solely by means of a simple mechanism.” This was defined as a “machine that beheads painlessly”. This uniform method of executing was to replace the inhumane methods such as burning, mutilation, drowning, and hanging. An easy death – so to speak – was no longer to be the prerogative of nobles. Guillotin also wanted the machine to be hidden from the view of large crowds, in accord with his view that the execution should be private and dignified.”
- The first guillotine was not designed by Dr. Guillotin (note the different spelling) — it was built by German harpsichord maker Tobias Schmidt.
- Dr Guillotin’s family begged the French government to change the name of the lethal machine. When the government refused, they changed their name instead.
Q3. What is Punk Rocker’s lung?
- Pulmonary fibrosis
- Thought to be a result of chronic hydrocarbon inhalation (paraffin and turpentine) from the act of fire-eating, in combination with inhalation of talc from the snorting of drugs.
- To my knowledge there is only one reported case of this specific type of ‘punk rocker’s lung’, however the authors suggest:
“As the habit of snorting drugs appears to be prevalent in the lunatic fringe of our society, more cases of this syndrome will probably be recognised, and physicians should be aware of it as a radiological mimic of sarcoidosis in young people.”
Q4. Portuguese neurologist Antonio Caetano de Abreu Freire Egas Moniz (1874-1955) won the 1949 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. Why?
- Moniz, the modern father of ‘psycho-surgery’, won the prize “for his discovery of the therapeutic value of leucotomy in certain psychoses”.
- Some have suggested that, given the patient’s state of mind after a frontal lobotomy, that the Nobel Peace Prize may have been more appropriate.
- The Neurophilosophy blog details the sordid but fascinating history of this procedure in The rise & fall of the prefrontal lobotomy.
Q5. How did the Inuit protect against snow blindness before the invention of sunglasses?
- They carved their own snow goggles from caribou antlers, bone or wood.
- The goggles were curved to fit the user’s face and had a large groove cut in the back to allow for the nose. A long thin slit was cut through the goggles to allow in a small amount of light, diminishing the amount of UV rays that get through. The goggles were held to the head by a cord made of caribou sinew. [Source: Wikipedia]
- Test your knowledge of UV keratopathy with a LITFL case-based Q&A: Blinded by the Light.
Remember kids (if you’re over 6 years of age)… Don’t let your asthma paroxysms get out of control!