Funtabulously Frivolous Friday Five 321

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 321

Question 1

What event propelled the creation of tamper proof medication packaging?

Reveal the funtabulous answer

The Chicago Tylenol Murders of 1982. 

Capsules of Extra-Strength Tylenol (acetaminophen) were laced with lethal doses of potassium cyanide. Seven people died in total in that episode, and several more deaths occurred across the U.S. due to copycat attacks. No convictions were made.  It became evident that the cyanide had been introduced to the capsules after the manufacturing process, likely when they were on shelves in a pharmacy. 

In an effort to save face and save their brand which was no longer considered safe, Johnson & Johnson pulled the product from shelves across the country, and in six weeks introduced a new bottles with new safety elements: cotton wads, foil seals, childproof caps, plastic strips.  Similar safety methods were adopted across the industry and in other fields, especially food production. 


Question 2

A 3 year old presents having accidentally been struck in the face by a cricket bat swung by an over enthusiastic 5 year old sister.  What is the likely hood that this nasal trauma will results in a septal haematoma?

Reveal the funtabulous answer


Nasal septal haematomas occur as a significant complication of nasal trauma in 2% of nasal injuries, from damage to the vessels in the overlying mucoperichondrium.


Question 3

Beta-lactamase activity is well known these days.In what year was it first reported?

Reveal the funtabulous answer

1940, the same year of the first publication on penicillin’s antibiotic effect.

In December of 1940, in a letter to the Editor of ‘Nature’ entitled:

“An Enzyme from Bacteria able to Destroy Penicillin”

Edward Abraham and Ernst Chain described how the effect of penicillin could be nullified.  Through experiments they were able to determine it was an enzyme (which would later become known as a beta-lactamase):

The conclusion that the active substance is an enzyme is drawn from the fact that it is destroyed by heating at 90° for 5 minutes and by incubation with papain activated with potassium cyanide at pH 6, and that it is non-dialysable through ‘Cellophane’ membranes

The article that described the specific antimicrobial properties of penicillin was only published in August of the same year, Ernst Chain being an author on that paper also:

Question 4

What infection is sometimes known as wool sorter’s disease?

Reveal the funtabulous answer


Anthrax is a bacterial disease caused by the gram positive rod Bacillus anthracis. The same bacteria can lead to three forms of disease:

  • cutaneous anthrax
  • intestinal anthrax
  • inhalational anthrax.

Bacillus anthracis is spore forming. Since 2001 there have only been three human cases of anthrax in Australia, all cutaneous disease from exposure to anthrax spores. 


  • Dermnetnz – Anthrax
  • QLD Govt Health – Anthrax

Question 5

The photo is demonstrating the presence of what?

Reveal the funtabulous answer

Trans illumination of a large pneumothorax in a neonate. 

Placement of a cold fibre optic light source next to the infant’s skin should transilluminate the whole hemi thorax in the presence of a large pneumothorax.  Note the illumination highlights most of the normal anatomical borders of the hemi thorax.

Pneumothoraces are seen in 1-2% of normal term babies, the majority of which are asymptomatic. However, pneumothoraces occur in up to 10% of preterm infants. Australia and New Zealand data demonstrated approximately 5% of infants less than 30 weeks gestation had a pneumothorax requiring drainage.


NSW Guidelines: Women and Babies: Management of Pneumothorax in Newborn Infants

…and finally

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Funtabulously Frivolous Friday Five

Dr Mark Corden BSc, MBBS, FRACP. Paediatric Emergency Physician working in Northern Hospital, Melbourne. Loves medical history and trivia...and assumes everyone around him feels the same...| LinkedIn |

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