Funtabulously Frivolous Friday Five 221

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 221

Question 1

The Adverts, a UK punk band in the 1970s wrote the song “Looking through Gary Gilmore’s eyes”. Who is Gary Gilmore and why would two people be looking through his eyes?

Reveal the funtabulous answer

Gary Gilmore was an American criminal who demanded the death sentence for himself for two murders he committed in Utah. He was the first person in almost 10 years to be executed in the United States.

He figured that many of his organs would be useless post firing squad so requested his corneas be transplanted and within 2 hours post his death two patients received his corneas.

Question 2

Why could this arachnid make you vegetarian?

Reveal the funtabulous answer

The lone star tick can give you a meat allergy (along with the European Castor bean tick and the paralysis tick in Australia)

The tick is found in eastern United States and Mexico and transmits a carbohydrate: Gal 1-3Gal Beta 1-4GlcNAc-R (a type of alpha-gal), unfortunately humans, apes and Old world monkeys have the natural antibody ‘anti-Gal’ and resultant meat consumption can cause anaphylaxis. Although it is a common myth that you would need to become vegetarian after sustaining a bite as there is actually no alpha-gal in poultry or fish.

Of note there is alpha-gal in the anti-cancer drug cetuximab, Gelofusin, haemaccel and porcine heart valves. There is one reported case of a patient developing anaphylaxis post a porcine heart valve transplant.

Question 3

The term ‘basket case’ stems from World War One. What would have occurred to you as a soldier to be called a basket case?

Reveal the funtabulous answer

The loss of both your arms and legs requiring you to be carried around in a basket. [Reference]

Question 4

Which smelly food-stuff inhibits aspergillus growth and has been used to treat otomycosis (swimmers ear)?

Reveal the funtabulous answer

Garlic! (Allium sativum, also known as poor man’s treacle)

Researchers at the University of New Mexico compared the antifungal properties of aqueous garlic extract (AGE) and concentrated garlic oil (CGO) with three commercial preparations commonly used in practice, i.e., cresylate otic solution, Lotrimin, and ketoconazole cream. Using agar disks inoculated with the fungi, the authors demonstrated a dose response of both garlic extracts against the three dermatophytes studied, i.e., Aspergillus fumigatus, A. niger, and A. terreus.

When compared to the commercial products, CGO was found to have greater inhibitory activity than the three antifungal agents. AGE had less activity than Lotrimin but greater activity than cresylate and equal activity to ketoconazole cream.[Reference]

Question 5

What psychoactive agent did pharmacoethnobotatnist Wade Davis describe as:

being shot out of a rifle barrell lined with baroque paintings and landing in a sea of electricity…no one is home anymore to experience the hallucination

Reveal the funtabulous answer


Ayahuasca tea has been used for centuries by shamans in the Amazon river basin as part of healing rituals. The general idea seems to be to awaken and confront ones worst fears and feelings, and then purge them through intense and violent vomiting. Thus, some enthusiasts consider ayahuasca sort of like ipecac for the soul.

A musician who has experimented with ayahuasca is Paul Simon. This experience is clearly reflected in the lyrics of his song “Spirit Voices”


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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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