Funtabulously Frivolous Friday Five 065

It is November already!

So, as promised, and thanks to new found freedom, the Funtabulously Frivolous Friday Five is back with a bang!

Start revving up your hippocampi and see if you can answer these little beauties…


Q1. What is the problem with this Zulu man’s little toe?

Click image for source

  • He has ainhum, auto-amputation of a digit.
  • Ainhum usually affects the little toe and is characterised by a painful, constricting scar forming a groove at the base of the affected digit. Over the course of about 5 years, auto-amputation occurs. It is commonly bilateral.
  • The condition is traditionally thought to be related to trauma from walking barefoot, but the link is tenuous. It may be caused by an inherited vascular defect.
  • It is most common in the tropics in people of African descent (it affects about 2% of Nigerians).
  • The word “ainhum” apparently means “to saw” in the language of the Nagos tribe from Brazil, whose ancestry includes slaves from Nigeria.

Q2. What effect does tricuspid regurgitation have on the jugular venous pressure waveform?

  • Tricuspid regurgitation causes an elevated central venous pressure and a dominant v wave.

Q3. Dalwara Singh was recently sentenced in the UK for poisoning his wife Jaspreet Singh Gill.  She ‘sprouted hair on her chin, cheeks and back’. What was she poisoned with and why? 

  • According to that most reliable of medical journals The Daily Mail, Dalwara Singh poisoned his wife with anabolic steroids (Anapolon which is oxymetholone, and Dianabol which is Methandrostenolone).
  • Why did he do it?  “So she would pile on weight and be forced to stay at home and look after their children” — read the full story here.
  • Side effects of anabolic steroids include acne, hypertension and masculinizing effects such as deepening of the voice, growth of facial hair, male pattern baldness and clitoral hypertrophy. Anabolic steroids with a 17α-alkylated structure are also hepatotoxic and can cause hepatitis, cirrhosis and liver cancer.

Q4. Is there a plausible mechanism by which excessive masturbation could lead to blindness?

  • Perhaps… though this is purely speculation (an idea first put forward by James A. Stockman, to my knowledge): increased venous pressure occurs during sexual stimulation, which could lead to raised intra-ocular pressure, and subsequent glaucoma-esque optic neuropathy if sustained for a long enough period…
  • A similar thing might happen from wearing a tie! Intra-ocular pressure is raised by about 20% in men who wear neck ties, as a result of jugular vein compression and subsequently increased venous pressures.
  • Teng C, Gurses-Ozden R, Liebmann JM, Tello C, Ritch R. Effect of a tight necktie on intraocular pressure. Br J Ophthalmol. 2003 Aug;87(8):946-8. PMID: 12881330; PMCID: PMC1771792.

Q5. There is a statue in Lima of a medical student who was declared a national hero in 1991. Who was he and why is he a national hero in Peru? 

  • In the 1800s, many people in the Andean mountains were afflicted with red wart-like eruptions called verruga peruana, but the cause was not known. Daniel Carrion was fascinated by the condition as a youth, even before he became a medical student. Despite the attempts of his professors and colleagues to dissuade him, Carrion decided to perform a self-experiement to see if verruga peruana was contagious. He inoculated himself with tissue from the lesions of an afflicted patient. Within weeks Carrion developed myalgias and joint pains, fevers, vomiting, abdominal cramps and profound anemia.  Before he died, Carrion documented in his notebook that he believed he was afflicted the highly fatal condition Oroya fever, and that it was caused by the same entity as verruga peruana.
  • We now know that both conditions are manifestations of bartonellosis (also known as Carrion’s disease), and that the causative bacterium, Bartonella bacilliformis, is spread by sandflies.

Verruga peruana ('peruvian warts') --- click image for source

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