Agraphia Medical Tragicomedy


Zac Fact #8 (Fishy go swim…)

Look, I know we're supposed to be professional about all this stuff by now. But... the whiff test?

Vaginal scrapings are taken, and put on a slide. KOH is placed on the slide, at which point it reacts with any bacteria. It then gives off a characteristic "fishy" odor, diagnosing bacterial vaginosis. Smelling for the fishy odor is officially - medically - called the "whiff test".

Something about "vagina" + "fishy" + "whiff" + "say it with a straight face, you're a doctor" just doesn't sit right by me. No sir, not one bit.

Filed under: Medicine, Zac Facts 3 Comments

Zac Fact #7 (Similar Medical Terminology)

Cushing's Disease: pituitary adenoma
Cushing's Syndrome: anything else causing increased corticosteroids
Cushing's Triad: intracranial pressure causes hypertension + bradycardia†
CusHing's Ulcer: stomach ulcer secondary to Head trauma
CuRling's Ulcer: stomach ulcer secondary to buRns

ClomiPHEne: estrogen receptor agonist (used in phemales!)
CloZapine: atypical antipsychotic (used in crazies!)
Clonidine: antihypertensive (alpha-2 agonist)

Epidermolysis Bullosa: inherited skin sloughing - noninflammatory
Bullous Pemphigoid: large blisters ( - Nikolsky sign - subepithelial)
Pemphigus Vulgaris: spreading blisters ( + Nikolsky sign - intraepithelial)

Von Recklinghausen's Disease: neurofibromatosis type I
Von Recklinghausen's Syndrome: osteitis fibrosis cystica ("brown tumors" of bone)

Paget's Disease: superficial carcinoma of the breast or vagina
Paget's Disease (of bone): overactivity of osteoclasts

WerMer's Syndrome: MEN I (Pancreas, Pituitary, Parathyroid)
WerNer's Syndrome: premature agiNg (autosomal recessive loss of DNA helicase)

Purkinje Cells: giant neurons in the cerebellum
Purkinje Fibers: conduction pathway of the heart

Trousseau's Sign: hand spasm on using a blood pressure cuff
Trousseau's Sign: migratory thrombophlebitis (lots of blood clots, all over)

Chancre: nonpainful ulcer of the penis (Syphilis)
Chancroid: painful ulcer of the penis (H. Ducreyi)

Charcot's triad (MS version): nystagmus, intention tremor, scanning speech
Charcot's triad (cholangitis version): Jaundice, RUQ pain, fever
Charcot-Leyden crystals: microscopic finding in asthma
Charcot-Marie-Tooth: congenital neuropathy (whose name is TOOTH anyway?)
Charcot-Bouchard aneurysm: hypertensive rupture into the brain
Charcot Joints: degredation of joints and bones of the foot in neurosyphilis (tertiary)

In conclusion, Charcot was a jerk.

†thanks Lyle!


Zac Fact #6 (Pay less for sunscreen!)

Sunscreen with an SPF value of more than 15 is (roughly) worthless... If you were actually concerned about sunburn, you would reapply every hour.

Oh, and if you really care, use micronized zinc oxide to avoid the white nose effect & get best protection.


Zac Fact #5 (Watershed Infarct)

Man-In-A-Barrel Syndrome: Seen in watershed infarcts, where blood pressure drops too low and specific areas of the brain lose blood supply (a type of stroke). Stereotypically produces loss of proximal muscle strength (i.e. thighs and arms) while maintaining distal strength (calves and forearms). Someone decided these people look like men trapped in a barrel.

Man In A Barrel: A descriptively named female sex toy. Reminds me of Turner's syndrome for some bizarre reason. Go ahead, Google Image it. I dare you.

By the way, you all should know that I hold regular conversations with the authors of First Aid for the USMLE in my head, while I study. Most of the time I'm berating them for absurdly ridiculous mnemonics (such as FREnzodiazepines, to "help" us remember that BENzodiazepines work via increased FREquency. C'mon, a retarded monkey could do better than that!)

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Zac Fact #4 (That Creepy-Crawly Feeling)

Medical Terminology Time!

Fornication: prom night, some lube, and a condom.

Formication: the creepy sensation that bugs are crawling underneath your skin. Don't smoke crack, kids!

Filed under: Medicine, Zac Facts 1 Comment


"Xenodiagnosis" of Chagas disease involves 40 kissing bugs, your hand, and a feeding frenzy. Even creepier than leeches!

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Zac Fact #2 (Aww, isn’t that adorable?)

Syphilitic "snuffles" are nowhere near as cute as they may sound. Instead, the "snuffles" are a horrendously profuse, bloody nasal discharge.

(sorry it's late!)

Filed under: Medicine, Zac Facts 1 Comment

Zac Fact #1 (Cheaper than waxing)

Hey folks, sorry for the long hiatus. I wish I could say I got too stressed out, or I totally flaked out, or that this set of exams was any different than all the others... but frankly, it wasn't. I just couldn't get over how utterly and totally burnt out on school I was.

So, the studying was ok, the tests were ok, the post-test-Mexico roadtrip was awesome. And the whole thing was distinctly no different than any other set of exams we've taken, even though we've officially finished our 2nd year of medical school.

That being said, without further ado, I present to you the first in a 25-part-series...

1 Interesting Fact I Learned Today

One of the earliest signs of diabetes is loss of the hair on the front of someone's shins. That hair gets some of the worst blood supply in the body, so it's one of the first things to go.