Funtabulously Frivolous Friday Five 124

Just when you thought your brain could unwind on a Friday, you realise that it would rather be challenged with some good old fashioned medical trivia FFFF, introducing the Funtabulously Frivolous Friday Five 124

Question 1

When the hepatitis B surface antigen was first isolated, what was it called? (hint: it was named after a place).

Reveal the funtabulous answer

Australia Antigen

The antigen was first characterised from the serum of an Australian Aboriginal person (in 1965)

Question 2

Von Economo encephalitis featured in which Robin Williams film and Oliver Sacks book?

Reveal the funtabulous answer


Von Economo’s encephalitis is also known as encephalitis lethargica, the condition that affected the patients in the film. Go watch the film before I spoil it for you. 

Question 3

Mississipi Mud” was the nickname for early preparations of which antibiotic?

Reveal the funtabulous answer


The nickname came about as early preparations contained several impurities and it had a brown colour


Question 4

Faecal transplants have been recently shown to be an effective treatment for recurrent Clostridium difficile infection, but in which decade were they first documented to be used as a therapeutic measure?

Reveal the funtabulous answer


In 1958, four patients were given a faecal transplant for pseudomembranous colitis. This was well before the role of Clostridium difficile in the disease was understood.

See this newspaper article about our very own LITFL blogger getting his hand dirty!  [Reference]

Question 5

In the 1920’s, obstetrician Dr House, noted that this drug helped his patients enter a “twilight sleep” and was convinced that it could be used as a truth serum. It is derived from the nightshade family of plants and (reportedly) has been used to take advantage of tourists due to it’s effects as a “suggestion drug”. Which drug is it?

Reveal the funtabulous answer


Scopolamine was tested in the 1950s as a truth serum in project MKULTRA, and is now infamous as a date-rape drug due to its tendency to cause retrograde amnesia (the inability to recall events prior to its administration). [Reference]

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Funtabulously Frivolous Friday Five

Medical Registrar fascinated by the quirky history of medicine and those crazy microbes.

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