Funtabulously Frivolous Friday Five 084

Got a case of friggatriskaidekaphobia?  Then today you should avoid amphibian cataplasms, scenic lakeside picnics and Glaswegian toilet bowls. Here we raise a million pints of beer to the unluckiest victims of trauma and disease.

Editor’s note: This is the third of the Jo Deverill Trilogy of FFFF (following the French foray FFFF 082 and taking the piscatorial FFFF 083). Jo has obviously not been deterred by getting one of his own questions wrong last week.

Question 1

What extraordinary sequence of bad luck leads to ocular sparganosis?

  • First: a black eye.
  • Second: application of a traditional Far Eastern remedy in the form of a frog meat poultice.
  • Third: contamination of the frog with Spirometra tapeworm larvae.

Question 2

Which unfortunate speech disorder led to the social exclusion of a Norwegian WWII bomb blast survivor?

  • Dysprosody or Foreign Accent Syndrome.
  • One of the first case reports of dysprosody was of a 28 year old Norwegian woman, Astrid L, who sustained a shrapnel injury to the left side of her brain during a bombing raid in 1941. She subsequently developed a strong German accent – even though she did not speak German and had never been to Germany – and was shunned by Oslo’s wartime community.
  • Several dozen cases have since been documented, following traumatic brain injury or stroke.

Question 3

What was in the most lethal packed lunch in modern history?

  • Wild duck paste sandwiches.
  • In 1922, 8 members of a fishing trip to Loch Maree in Scotland fell ill after eating a picnic, mysteriously developing diplopia, dysphagia and respiratory paralysis.
  • They died one-by-one in the remote Loch Maree Hotel. Each victim had eaten wild duck paste sandwiches: the pot from which these had been made was found to be contaminated with botulism.
Reference: The ripe olive scare and hotel Loch Maree tragedy: Botulism under glass in the 1920’s. Horowitz BZ. Clin Toxicol (Phila). 2011 Apr;49(4):345-7.

Question 4

How were eight Londoners killed by beer on the same day in 1814?

  • By drowning and crush injury.
  • The London Beer Flood of 1814 was the world’s first “beer-nami”.
  • A 22-foot high vat, holding a million pints of beer, gave way at the Horse Shoe Brewery on Tottenham Court Road. Surrounding vats collapsed in a chain reaction, and a wave of beer – reportedly 15 feet high – swept through the slum of St Giles, demolishing two houses and a pub.

Question 5

Which notorious public health hazard is presented by Glaswegian toilets?

  • Various answers could be considered correct.
  • In 1993, a seminal report from the Western Infirmary A&E Department described 3 cases of severe buttock laceration resulting from the collapse of fractured porcelain lavatory pans. (Reference: Wyatt JP, McNaughton GW, Tullett WM “The collapse of toilets in Glasgow“. Scottish Medical Journal 38 (6): 185. PMID 8146638)
  • …the authors went on to win an IgNobel Prize for Public Health.
  • Readers are advised to be on the lookout for tell-tale cracks.

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  1. jacinta says

    I used to know a woman who would not stop herself from speaking in an American accent (west coast type) when she consumed alcohol. Should I still think of her as a hopeless piss head or should I consider that she was injuring/irritating her brain and the accent was a physiological symptom?