Medical Fun Facts Episode 42: MCS

Medical Fun Facts Episode 42: MCS

In microbiology medical testing laboratories, the bulk of specimens are for microscopy and culture, and if bacteria grow the referring doctor would like to know what antimicrobials the bacterium is resistant to as well as what it may be susceptible to. Sensitivity is an older word we used to use but which didn’t quite represent what we were trying to achieve in the laboratory. These days, we’re not just interested in susceptibility but also resistance. I like to think about ART or antimicrobial resistance testing as opposed to AST, i.e., antimicrobial susceptibility testing. Knowing what a bacterium is resistant to in many ways is more important.

Read More

Medical Fun Facts Episode 40: Y

Medical Fun Facts Episode 40: Y

Tonight’s episode is about something beginning with the letter Y. I wanted to talk about Alexandre Yersin.

Yersin was born in Switzerland to French parents. He studied medicine in Switzerland but wanted to practice in France so he changed his nationality.

Before his work on plague, Yersin worked on the diphtheria toxin.

In the late 1800s, Yersin went to work in Indochina and while there was directed by the French Government to Hong Kong to work on the Manchurian pneumonic plague.

Read More

Medical Fun Facts Episode 39: X

Medical Fun Facts Episode 39: X

I have to confess, my knowledge of physics and medical physics is limited. I struggled at school and university with physics and higher mathematics. I didn’t mind organic chemistry but I couldn’t get my head around inorganic chemistry and I was just plain stupid when it came to biochemistry. I think school teachers and university lecturers also struggled with my inane questions and inability to grasp the basic concepts. If it wasn’t for zoölogy, microbiology and evolutionary biology at school and university I would not have contemplated medicine as a career.

So getting my head around x-rays is a struggle. I will rely heavily on Wikipedia and other sources apart from my memory.

Read More

Medical Fun Facts Episode 38: W

Medical Fun Facts Episode 38: W

Whipple’s disease, that’s Whipple’s with a capital W and an apostrophe s, is a fairly uncommon infectious disease caused by the bacterium Tropheryma whipplei. This bacterium is an actinomycete, and although most actinomycetes are Gram-positive, this bacterium often stains Gram-negative or Gram-indeterminate. Nobel laureate, George Hoyt Whipple probably saw them using a silver based stain.

The disease was first described in 1907 by as you can guess George Whipple. His disease, mainly causes malabsorption, but it can affect many other systems including the heart, brain, joints, skin, eyes and lungs.

Whipple’s disease commonly presents with weight loss, diarrhoea, and joint pain associated with inflammation of the joints. Not all patients have these typical presenting signs and symptoms.

Read More