Funtabulously Frivolous Friday Five 163

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 163

Question 1

What is your omphalos?

Reveal the funtabulous answer


In Greek lore, Zeus sent two eagles across the world to meet at its centre, the “navel” of the world.

There are also a number of omphalos stones, one of the most famous being the Delphi omphalos in the adyton (sacred part of the temple) near the Pythia (oracle). The stone sculpture itself (which may be a copy), has a carving of a knotted net covering its surface, and a hollow centre, widening towards the base. The omphalos represents the stone which Rhea wrapped in swaddling clothes, pretending it was Zeus, in order to deceive Cronus. (Cronus was the father who swallowed his children so as to prevent them from usurping him as he had deposed his own father, Uranus)

Question 2

Rice water stools are characteristic of what infectious disease and the ingestion of what poison?

Reveal the funtabulous answer

Cholera and arsenic

Technically in arsenic is gets the added description of “bloody watery stool” which can occur in an acute exposure/ingestion or if the exposure is chronic intermittent episodes can occur. [Reference]

Questionably the most famous case of arsenic poisoning (excluding Napoleon’s loose association with arsenic) is the famous  New Zealand-bred racehorse Phar Lap died suddenly in 1932. Poisoning was considered as a cause of death and several forensic examinations were completed at the time of death. In a recent examination, 75 years after his death, forensic scientists determined that the horse had ingested a massive dose of arsenic shortly before his death. [Reference]

Question 3

Dr Benjamin Winrow wrote in and suggested the following 2 FFFFs: When might a goose guide fluid resuscitation?

Reveal the funtabulous answer

Stephen Hales in 1733 was the first person to directly measure arterial blood pressure at the femoral and carotid using a 9′ long glass tube and a flexible connector (in his case, the trachea of a goose) and measured the height to which the column of blood rose.

Hales also described the effects of hemorrhage and hemorrhagic shock by progressive exsanguination of animals and accompanying measurement of blood pressure. In a horse he observed that as death approached “the Mare fell into cold and clammy sweats.” [Reference]

Question 4

Why is the trachea called the windpipe?

Reveal the funtabulous answer

Well its not as obvious as it first seems.

The vascular system was once thought to contain air (presumably due to the lack of blood flow after death) and therefore it was thought that we had a system of air ducts. The trachea became labelled as the trachea arteria (medieval Latin translation to “rough artery” due to the cartilaginous rings) and then the windpipe. [Reference]

Question 5

What was the “French Pox“?

Reveal the funtabulous answer


In February 1495, King Charles VIII of France, with his army of 50,000 mostly Spanish mercenary soldiers, invaded and took Naples from King Alphonso II.  King Charles’ aim was to use Naples as a base from which to launch a campaign to the Crusades.

While celebrating in the aftermath, an epidemic of a frightening new and terrible disease broke out in the soldiers and the people of Naples – syphilis, Grande verole, or the ‘Great pox’, later becoming known as the ‘French pox’.

The prevailing hypothesis up to early last century was that Colombus brought the disease with him when he returned to Spain from the New World in 1492 and it had spread to Spanish soldiers and then to the French.

FFFF More More


Funtabulously Frivolous Friday Five

Dr Neil Long BMBS FACEM FRCEM FRCPC. Emergency Physician at Kelowna hospital, British Columbia. Loves the misery of alpine climbing and working in austere environments (namely tertiary trauma centres). Supporter of FOAMed, lifelong education and trying to find that elusive peak performance.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.