Top 10 Diseases Named After Food

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I, personally, uncovered medical school to be a grueling and boring regimen of rote memorization and sleep deprivation – the encounter of which can be more or less distilled down to a masochistic exercise in self denial and privation for the benefit of human well being (and Porsches and golf club memberships). One bright spot in my training was clean historical anecdotes that would pop up once every so often and the far-out trivia. Physicians throughout history have proven to be a resourceful and very creative group, and their naming conventions can be tongue in cheek. Among my favorites are symptoms and disorder findings that are named after food. I grin when I recognize that such “culinary” descriptors may partly arise out of the black comedy that’s an all-natural consequence of such extensive training and lengthy exposure to human suffering and unpalatable these naming conventions can be, although I’m fascinated about how gross income. Without further delay, here is a list of ten disorder findings from the emerging medical specialization of “ pathophysiology and culinary pathology.” A picture of the disorder is linked – be warned – they aren’t pretty, where suitable.

Blueberry Muffin Rash


Not to be mistaken with our favourite high calorie breakfast pastry, blueberry muffin rash is a cutaneous (skin) finding in babies who were exposed in the uterus to the rubella virus. This rash is a kind of purpura (reddish or purple skin discoloration that doesn’t blanch with fingertip pressure due to bleeding under the skin). Although no longer exclusively related to congenital rubella syndrome (CRS), it’s best remembered as such. The classic triad (no, I’m not referring to Asian organized crime here) of CRS is deafness, eye abnormalities and congenital heart disease. [Disease Photo]

Nutmeg Liver


No, blockage isn’t only allowed for your sinuses in the medical area. Nutmeg liver is another name for long-term passive congestion of the liver. It called congestive heapatopathy. This is due to congestive heart failure, which in laypersons terms that are ’ is a sickly heart that cannot pump blood in addition to it used to. With a badly functioning heart, blood basically “backs up” in the venous system (the half of your circulatory system that’s in charge of bringing deoxygenated blood back to the heart). The complex system of veins discovered in the liver becomes engorged with blood, giving the microscopic appearance of a grated nutmeg to the liver. Sadly you ca’t grate a nutmeg liver into nip or your favourite apple pie of eggnog; if heart function isn’t restored, the liver can become damaged, leading to fibrosis, which is scarring of tissue that is diseased. [Disease Photo]

Watermelon Stomach


Watermelon stomach is also called gastric antral vascular ectasia (GAVE). Try saying that three times fast. It’s no wonder doctors would name it after one of our favourite summer fruits. This is an extremely uncommon finding that includes dilated blood vessels in the last part of the stomach (antrum). GAVE is of unknown etiology (cause) and is a rare cause of gastrointestinal bleeding and iron deficiency anemia. Doctors call it watermelon stomach due to the characteristic reddish stripes of gut lining that look like markings of a watermelon. Okay, well last time I checked watermelons do’t have reddish stripes, but what did rapper Dr. Dre say…”trust me, I’m a doctor.” [Disease Photo]

Cauliflower Ear


Mad drunks and mixed martial arts enthusiasts beware—cauliflower ear can be one’s worst opponent. This is a deformity occurring after continued injury to the ear. With enough strikes to the ears, the blood supply and inherent cartilage scaffolding gets damaged, to the point where the healing procedure runs creating a cosmetically unappealing increase that seems a lot like albino broccoli, cauliflower is meant by me. This state is irreversible, other than with a costly visit to your plastic surgeon. Too poor medical ethics don’t permit kickbacks for patient referrals. [Disease Photo]

Strawberry Gallbladder


Strawberry gallbladder is a surgical finding of excessive cholesterol deposits in the gallbladder wall. As all of US understand, the gallbladder stores and releases bile (which is made in the liver) which helps us emulsify and later digest the fats in our diet. The stippled look of the gallbladder is because of the cholesterol deposits, which I think would represent the seeds of the strawberry. Like lots of medicine, the cause of strawberry gallbladder is not known. Fortunately for all gallbladders out there, having high cholesterol will not appear to have any harmful effects. [Disease Photo]

Chocolate Cyst


This is among the few instances where chocolate isn’t better than sex for most girls out there (well at least 52% of British girls according to a 2007 survey by Cadbury, who makes chocolate, by the way). Also called endometriosis of the ovary, a chocolate cyst occurs when endometrial tissue (blood vessel load tissue that lines the uterus and is shed monthly in the lack of an implanted fertilized egg) finds its way into the pelvic cavity and starts to grow on one or both ovaries. This tissue slough off, continues to proliferate, and proliferate like a regular menstrual cycle. The trouble is this is happening within the ovary rather than the uterus. Blood turns a brownish chocolate colour and collects over time. Sadly, chocolate cysts frequently rupture, but not before causing lots of suffering and pain. Hormonal treatments are accessible also, although surgical removal of the ovary is authoritative treatment. [Disease Photo]

Port Wine Stain


A port wine stain is a common birth mark resulting from group of distended blood vessels near the skin surface. It’s generally innocuous, but may cause psychological distress in patients where the birthmark is particularly notable (hey, it did’t prevent Gorbachev from espousing Perestroika and Glasnost). The colour is reddish purple like the colour of Port wine (sorry Sherry, there isn’t any birthmark named after you) and can darken with age. Sometimes, a port wine stain may be an indicator of a more serious disorder for example Sturge-Weber syndrome, or Klippel-Trenaunay-Weber syndrome (I constantly wondered if physicians resented having to discuss a disorder discovery with so many other physicians). Port wine stains can be removed only like unwanted tattoos if bothersome. Laser treatments are powerful because it kills the offending blood vessels without damaging the skin. Continued treatments are needed and this can be an expensive and time consuming proposition. [Disease Photo]

Bread and Butter Pericarditis


Also called fibrinous pericarditis, this is caused by inflammation. It’s usually due to viral or bacterial diseases, or after a heart attack. The pericardium takes on the look of butter on bread after it’s been dropped (butter side down, of course) on the carpeting. No, there aren’t scattered hairs or dust bunnies discovered imbedded in the lining of the heart but there might be. The look is due to fibrin (a kind of protein) that is deposited as an outcome of harm. This causes a characteristic “friction wipe” that’s perceptible with a stethoscope. Another crucial finding is chest pain much like a heart attack, that gets better when you lean forwards. Treatment is generally with operation seldom required, with aspirin or anti inflammatory drugs. Of note, this is another one of those factlets that are pounded into your head in medical school, but never examined on because that would make things too simple. [Disease Photo]

Currant Jelly Sputum

Currant Jelly

This isn’t something you need to distribute along with some clotted cream on your own scones. Currant jelly sputum is a mass of blood, sputum, mucous and cellular debris that accumulates as an effect of untreated Klebsiella pneumoniae pneumonia in lung passages. The prevalence of Klebsiella disease is increasing, probably due to new forms with antibiotic resistance. This bacterium is the second most common cause of urinary tract infections, second to E. coli. Nevertheless, before you begin stressing that you’re going to cough up something that seems like the blue ribbon prize at the 4h meet, pneumonia due to Klebsiella typically appears in those who have other medical conditions including other chronic lung disorders, diabetes and alcoholism. Other symptoms include chills, high fever and influenza-like symptoms.

Café au Lait Spot


For ‘my java French is more complex than your java’, café au lait spots are birthmarks. Like the port wine stain, they, in and of themselves, are harmless and are called such due to their light brown colour. Nevertheless, café au lait spots can be an indicator of the existence of many disorders, like tuberous sclerosis, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome and Hunter syndrome. The existence of at least six café au lait spots, at least 5 millimeters in diameter (before puberty) or 15 mm (after puberty) help in the identification of Neurofibramatosis I (NF1). NF1 is a human genetic disorder that was believed to be the Elephant Man’s identification du jour, but has fallen out of favor with medical historians. [Ailment Picture]

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