Posts by Gwinyai Masukume:

Strawberry scrotum, the doctors’ delight

Doctors are, sometimes, fascinated by scrotums and by strawberries. Studying scrotal symmetry – or its lack – yielded an Ig Nobel prize in 2002. As discussed on this blog previously, the strawberry is used extensively as an analogy in medical practice. The scrotum and strawberry have a lot in common, for example, their distinctive skins. The […]

‘Culinary terms are used to describe genitals colloquially’

A quartet from Washington and San Francisco writes, in the American Journal of Medicine: “Although culinary terms are used to describe genitals colloquially, medical terminology has avoided such comparisons.” Dr Nicholas Mark and his colleagues survey the medical literature on diagnostic clues in urine, stool, sputum, etc. that — in at least some respect — resemble drink […]

Medicine is sprinkled with metaphorical crumbs

My colleague Lisa Kipersztok (a final-year medical student at Tufts University) and I (Gwinyai Masukume, at the University of the Witwatersrand)  have collected and arranged a new feast of medical food metaphors. We follow in the footsteps of hungry giants. In the late 1970s Terry and Hanchard in their seminal paper, titled “Gastrology: the use of culinary terms in […]

An alarming cherry — further food-derived medical terms

We have looked at the strawberry as a food-derived medical term. Today: the cherry. First, savor this article with an alarming title: Diaz K, Malave A. “Cherry Red Emergency”: Acute Epiglottitis Requiring Surgical Airway, Chest, 2012; 142 (4_MeetingAbstracts), 12A-12A. Here is more information elaborating on the cherry red epiglottis (a flap of tissue at the tongue’s back […]

Seeing carrots under the microscope – hallucination or true perception?

We have previously wondered why some people see food when they look under the microscope. Although the reason(s) for this curious behavior may currently elude full explanation, we report a case of humans seeing carrots under the microscope: The nuclei of a predominantly childhood tumor – medulloblastoma – seem like carrots when seen under the […]

More food-derived medical terminology: Peaches and cream

We continue where we left off in the land of culinary medical metaphors: Humans are known to form organisations which study tissues that weigh only 20 – 30 grams. That’s the average mass of the thyroid gland in an adult which is located in the neck region. Sometimes under activity of the thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) can […]

When something inside you is crushed like a nut

The pressure in the esophagus (the tube connecting the mouth and stomach) can become abnormally very high. Because of this high pressure an analogy was drawn between the esophageal pressure and the pressure generated by a nutcracker giving the term – nutcracker esophagus: R Fass, R Dickman. Nutcracker Esophagus-A Nut Hard to Swallow. Journal of […]

Improbable Research