Sunday, October 30, 2011

Word salad

Word salad for instance, “Colorless green ideas sleep furiously”, where phrases are grammatically correct but have no known meaning is a feature of mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and dementia. Word salad is so named to highlight the apparently random mixture of words that resembles the random mixture of vegetables, fruits, meats, etc. in a salad - word salad.
Schizophrenia is a psychiatric disorder that is difficult to define and describe, however some of its features include delusions, hallucinations and interference with speech and thinking which lead to significant social and occupational dysfunction. Delusions are fixed false firm beliefs unaltered by evidence to the contrary e.g. that everyone in the world is watching one; a hallucination is perception without a stimulus e.g. hearing voices of dead people giving one instructions; interference with speech and thinking e.g. word salad.
Dementia is not a single disease but a state characterized by overall impairment of intellect, memory and personality without loss of conscious that can be caused for example by infection, trauma, toxins, cancer, and so on.
Noam Chomsky (born 1928) an American intellectual originated the above quoted sentence for illustrative purposes.
Portnoff LA. Schizophrenia and semantic aphasia: a clinical comparison. Int J Neuroscience, 1982 16(3-4):189-97. Go to reference


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Blackcurrant rash

DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid), the genetic code, sustains damage daily from for instance chemicals and sunlight. Normally, the damaged DNA is excised and replaced with new DNA during the ongoing natural process of DNA repair. Failure to repair damaged DNA leads to the accumulation of genetic mutations that may cause cancer.
In xeroderma pigmentosum (XP), a rare inherited disease, there is failure of DNA repair following exposure to sunlight, and sufferers develop skin cancers and can also become blind. Xeroderma stands for dry skin and pigmentosum means pigmented, denoting the finding of dry pigmented skin in this condition. Skin lesions in XP resemble blackcurrants – blackcurrant rash.
Avoiding sunlight assists XP patients.
Orosco RK, Wang T, Byrne PJ. Xeroderma pigmentosum in an African-American. ORL J Otorhinolaryngol Relat Spec, 2011 73(3):162-5. Go to reference 

DNA and DNA repair

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Plucked chicken skin appearance

Pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE) is a relatively rare disease in which there is progressive mineralization and fragmentation of elastic fibers.
The skin, eye, blood vessels and heart contain elastic fibers and are consequently affected in PXE.
PXE is also known as Grönblad-Strandberg syndrome, named after a Swedish eye doctor and a Swedish skin doctor respectively who described the disease during the first half of the 20th century.
In PXE one may find yellow raised skin lesions that resemble plucked chicken skin in appearance. These lesions are located particularly in the neck, armpit, groin, elbow, knee and umbilical region.
Goral V et al. Pseudoxantoma elasticum, as a repetitive upper gastrointestinal hemorrhage cause in a pregnant woman. World J Gastroenterol, 2007 13(28):3897-9. Go to reference

Plucked chicken skin appearance of neck

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Apple green sputum

Cigarette smoking causes damage to the lungs resulting in for example chronic bronchitis which is defined as an individual coughing with sputum production for at least 3 months per year, 2 years in a row.  Bronchi are airway passages.
Another consequence of tobacco smoking is emphysema where there is irreversible abnormal dilatation of the air sacs with destruction of their walls. Sufferers develop shortness of breath for instance.
Chronic bronchitis and emphysema often occur simultaneously making up an entity known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Patients with COPD have a tendency of developing sudden worsening (exacerbations) of their disease triggered for example by infection with bacteria such as Moraxella catarrhalis. This bacterium is said to result in characteristic apple green sputum.
Sputum is material originating from the respiratory tract such as mucus, phlegm, pus, etc. that is either coughed up or swallowed.
Capewell S et al. Pneumonia due to Branhamella catarrhalis. Thorax, 1988 43(11):929-30. Go to reference

Cigarettes; emphysematous lung typical of smoking tobacco