Funtabulously Frivolous Friday Five 188

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 188

Question 1

Churchill claimed to have been cured of depression (or his “black dog”) by a doctor. Churchill wrote about this with some excitement in a letter to his wife, Clementine: “I think this man might be useful to me – if my black dog returns. He seems quite away from me now – it is such a relief. All the colours come back into the picture.” But to help Churchill do his final parliamentary speech, what did his doctor prescribe him?

Reveal the funtabulous answer

A little bit of Speed (amphetamines).

Churchill was at a time before the development of effective medication, when the main medical approach to mood disorders was psychoanalytic.

When Churchill was almost 80, Dr Moran prescribed some speed to give Sir Winston enough of a boost to make a final speech in Parliament

Question 2

What is the difference between kuru and koro?

Reveal the funtabulous answer

Kuru is a dementing illness spread by cannibalism.

  • Kuru is derived from the Fore’s word “to shake” due to the body tremors that are a classic symptom of the prion disease. Dead family members in Papua New Guinea were traditionally cooked and eaten, which was thought to help free the spirit of the dead.

Koro is an oriental fear of death caused by the penis disappearing into the body

  • However in the West people largely believe their genitalia is just shrinking. Extremely anxious sufferers and their family members may resort to physical methods to prevent the believed retraction of the penis. A man may perform manual or mechanical penile traction, or “anchoring” by a loop of string or some clamping device

Question 3

What is the Nicoladoni sign?

Reveal the funtabulous answer

A circulatory phenomenon observed in angioma racemosum of the extremities or more commonly in patients with an AV-fistula.

More accurately the Nicoladoni-Israel-Branham sign is compression of the arterial supply to an arteriovenous fistula causes a decrease in pulse and increase in blood pressure if there is a significant circulation through the fistula.

AV fistula is a volume overload state, when the artery supplying the AV fistula is compressed, there is an increase in peripheral vascular resistance and afterload. As a result of increased afterload, there is a reflex bradycardia.

The phenomenon was first described by Nicoladoni in 1875, then by Israel in 1877 and Branham in 1890, and subsequently rediscovered by Wigdorowitsch in 1915. And maybe by you the next time you are in the dialysis unit.

Question 4

What is the Jendrassik manoeuvre?

Reveal the funtabulous answer

Clutching the hands together to reinforce the tendon reflexes.

Ernő Jendrassik (1858-1921) was a Hungarian physician

Question 5

What was ‘Compound E’, isolated in 1941 from the adrenal?

Reveal the funtabulous answer


Three scientists won the 1950 Nobel prize in medicine for their work with cortisone, Swiss chemist Tadeus Reichstein and Americans Edward Calvin Kendall, a biochemist, and Philip Showalter Hench, a medical researcher.

In 1936 Reichstein was the first scientist to isolate the hormone that was later named cortisone, making it the first corticosteroid ever described. Hench and Kendall studied compound E, thinking it may be useful in treating arthritis because of its anti-inflammatory effect. In 1950 Hench and another colleague were the first to use it to successfully treat arthritis.

…and finally

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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.

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