Fried Rice Syndrome

In the tropics, food deteriorates fast. Even after a couple of hours meat can turn rancid and that's the sole reason consumers in that parts of the world always like their food spicy: pepper and chili peppers both act as an antibacterial and both mask the taste of decay.
Fried rice is also not immune to bacteria. The bacterium Bacillus cereus, a close relative of Bacillus anthracis, which causes anthrax, likes to invade fried rice. The bacteria are classically contracted from fried rice dishes that have been sitting at room temperature for hours.

Bacillus cereus is responsible for a growing number of foodborne illnesses, causing severe nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea[1].

But now there's a more menacing problem: in the tropical rainforests of Ivory Coast, Bacillus cereus has acquired two plasmids, pXO1 and pXO2, possibly from Bacillus anthracis, encoding most of the genes that make anthrax such a formidable killer[2].

That version of Bacillus cereus is called Bacillus cereus biovar anthracis. If that variant manages to escape the African rainforests, we're in for some serious and deadly problems.

[1] Katranta et al: Epidemiology and pathogenesis of Bacillus cereus infections in Microbes and Infection – 2000
[2] Leendertz et al: A New Bacillus anthracis Found in Wild Chimpanzees and a Gorilla from West and Central Africa in PloS Pathogens – 2006

Rushing Woman's Syndrome

According to research, long-term activation of the stress-response system - and the subsequent overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones - can disrupt almost all your body's processes. This puts you at increased risk of numerous health problems, including: anxiety, depression, digestive problems, heart disease, sleep problems, weight gain (or loss), memory and concentration impairment.
Stress can be the result of a perceived or a real threat. The body knows that it is stressed and responds with a fight or flight reaction. But your body doesn't know the difference between the stress we feel at work or stress from the risk of an attack. The cumulative effect of constantly feeling pressure can create a cascade of stress hormones that is detrimental to our physical and mental health.

Diet and alcohol also stimulate stress hormones. Add in a lack of sleep and you have yourself a heady chemical concoction.

These are problems that affect many of us, but some want to earn some money out of other people's psychological and physical discomfort. Such a person is Libby Weaver, a New Zealand-based biochemist and nutritionist, but NOT a medical doctor. She coined the term 'Rushing Woman’s Syndrome' in 2012. She believes imbalanced sex and stress hormones cause problems with 'weight management, food cravings, sleep quality, patience, moods, self-esteem, and overall quality of life.'

Real doctors claim that 'Rushing Woman’s Syndrome' is simply a marketing term, not a medical term. They warned that such simplistic explanations could prevent women with actual clinical mood and depression disorders from getting the medical or psychological help they need.

Other critics have characterized 'Rushing Woman’s Syndrome' as a gimmick designed to help Weaver sell health products, as her company, Dr. Libby Ltd., sells books, consultations, courses, health retreats, CDs and DVDs. Curry is also promoting her own weight-loss program and naturopathic hormone treatments, which she says helped her overcome her symptoms.

O dear, that sounds very much like quackery, if you should ask me. But you shouldn't ask me, but finally rely on your own judgement. You might well reach the same conclusion.

Fungus-related Sick Building Syndrome

Remember the days that people in Victorian England suffered and frequently died from toxins in wallpapers. These wallpapers contained copious amounts of toxic arsenic. Copper arsenite created a vivid green pigment.

Nowadays the situation is very different and …
No, the situaton hasn't changed so very much because scientist have found that toxins produced by three different species of fungus growing indoors on wallpaper may become aerosolized, and easily inhaled. The findings, which likely have implications for Sick Building Syndrome, were recently published[1].

The researchers demonstrated that mycotoxins could be transferred from a moldy material to air, under conditions that may be encountered in buildings. Part of the toxic load was found on very small particles — dust or tiny fragments of wallpaper, that could be easily inhaled. Thus, mycotoxins can be easily inhaled and should be investigated as parameters of indoor air quality, especially in homes with visible fungal contamination.

The research was done with three fungal species: Penicillium brevicompactum, Aspergillus versicolor and Stachybotrys chartarum. These species, long studied as sources of food contaminants, also are frequent indoor contaminants.

Increasingly energy efficient homes may aggravate the problem of mycotoxins indoors. Such homes are strongly isolated from the outside to save energy, but various water-using appliances such as coffee makers could lead to favorable conditions for fungal growth and might be the cause of several respiratory illnesses.

[1] Aleksic et al: Aerosolization of mycotoxins after growth of toxinogenic fungi on wallpaper in Applied and Environmental Microbiology – 2017

Adult Post-Bullying Syndrome

Who's to blame for bullying, some people ask? Is it the bully who preys on the weak and vulnerable? It is the victim who isn't assertive enough? Are the parents to blame who do not teach their children to be kind? Or are the teachers or managers at fault because it is easier not wanting to see bullying, because taking action is so much trouble?
Much research has been devoted to try to understand what are the factors that drives people to bully. Bullies mostly come from dysfunctional families, where there is little affection and openness. Bullies need to be in control, are impulsive and can't regulate their emotions. Bullying behavior gets rewarded with cheap laughs, by negative attention or the power of having others afraid of them. Bullies don’t care how others feel and lack empathy. Highly narcissistic boys were more likely than their peers to show elevated direct bullying[1]. But, above all, deep down bullies have a inferiority complex.

In other words: bullies having serious psychological problems and are in desperate need of some professional treatment.

The problem is that most bullies aren't treated or punished for their actions. Parents, teachers and managers do not recognise (or don't want to recognise) the signals. Bullying leads to festering situations where people frequently report sick with vague complaints.

A new book by Ellen Walser DeLara, 'Bullying Scars', finds that victims of bullying often show signs and signals that mimic those of Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD). To differentiate between both, DeLara coined the term Adult Post-Bullying Syndrome (APBS).

While Adult Post-Bullying Syndrome can share some symptoms with Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome, there are distinct differences. One is that there can be both negative and positive aspects to Adult Post-Bullying Syndrome, whereas there are no positive aspects associated with Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome. The negative symptoms of Adult Post-Bullying Syndrome can mimic those of Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome or the effects seen from child abuse. These effects, both in Adult Post-Bullying Syndrome and in Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome, are lasting into adulthood and can include shame, anxiety and relational difficulties.

[1] Reijntjes et al: Narcissism, Bullying, and Social Dominance in Youth: A Longitudinal Analysis in Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology - 2016. See here.

New World Syndrome

The New World Syndrome is a misnomer and should have been called Western Diet Syndrome. The New World Syndrome is linked to a change from a traditional diet and exercise to a Western diet (i.e. junk food) and a sedentary lifestyle.
The traditional occupations of indigenous people – such as fishing, farming and hunting – tended to involve constant activity, whereas modern office jobs do not. The introduction of modern transportation such as automobiles also decreased physical exertion.

Meanwhile, cheap Western foods which are rich in fat, salt, sugar, and refined starches are also imported into countries. The amount of carbohydrates in diets increases[1]

The results of the introduction of these Western diets and lack of exercise are devastating. This syndrome is especially common in the indigenous peoples of the 'New World' (i.e. of the Americas). Imported American foodstuffs and carbonated soft drinks are cheaper than their traditional foods. Other examples of this syndrome are the inhabitants of several island states in the Pacific[2] and the Australian aboriginals[3].

The New World Syndrome is characterized by obesity, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and a shortened life span.

[1] Bradshaw et al: Emergence of diabetes mellitus in a Mexican-origin population: a multiple cause-of-death analysis in Social Biology – 1995
[2] Ellen Ruppel Shell: New world Syndrome in The Atlantic – 2001. See here.
[3] Gracey: New World syndrome in Western Australian aborigines in Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology – 1995

Hard Water Syndrome

In contrast to 'soft water', hard water is water that has a high mineral content, with minerals such as iron, copper calcium and magnesium. Hard water is formed when water percolates through deposits of limestone and chalk which are largely made up of calcium and magnesium carbonates.
The World Health Organization (WHO) actually says that "there does not appear to be any convincing evidence that water hardness causes adverse health effects in humans"[1]. In fact, studies indicate that hard water actually serves as a dietary supplement for copper, calcium and magnesium[2][3]. Hard water consumption even seems to be protective against Cardiovascular Diseases (CVD)[4].

So, hard water is essentially healthy, but this all changes dramatically it is used during haemodialysis, the process of purifying the blood of a patient whose kidneys are not working normally. During this process, water is used to remove waste products, such as creatinine and urea, and free water from the blood.

If the water, used to flush the blood, contains high levels of iron, calcium and magnesium it can result in post-dialysis nausea, vomiting, weakness (asthenia), and/or hypertension[5]. This is the Hard Water Syndrome.

[1] Hardness in Drinking-water Background document for development of WHO Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality – 2003. See here.
[2] Klevay: The influence of copper and zinc on the occurrence of ischemic heart disease in Journal of Environmental Pathology and Toxicology – 1980
[3] Sengupta: Potential health impacts of hard water in International Journal of Preventative Medicine – 2013
[4] Gianfredi et al: Cardiovascular diseases and hard drinking waters: implications from a systematic review with meta-analysis of case-control studies in Journal of Water and Health – 2017
[5] Freeman, Lawton: The Hard Water Syndrome in New England Journal of Medicine – 1967

De Quervain Syndrome

A syndrome you know it would surface: a repetitive strain injury resulting from too much messaging (or texting) on your smartphone. De Quervain Syndrome is named after the Swiss surgeon Fritz de Quervain (1868-1940).

But this syndrome has a long history, because repetitive actions were once mostly work related. Think of wrist bending and movements associated with the twisting or driving of screws. Workers who perform rapid repetitive activities involving pinching, grasping, pulling or pushing have been considered at increased risk[1].
Nowadays, some specific activities that have been postulated as potential risk factors include intensive computer mouse use and typing, as well as some pastimes, including bowling, golf and fly-fishing, piano-playing, and sewing and knitting.

That's why De Quervain Syndrome has a host of other names, such as BlackBerry thumb, texting thumb, gamer's thumb, washerwoman's sprain, radial styloid tenosynovitis, mother's wrist or mommy thumb.

De Quervain Syndrome is a tenosynovitis (inflammation) of the sheath or tunnel that surrounds two tendons that control movement of the thumb. Symptoms are pain at the radial side of the wrist, spasms, tenderness, occasional burning sensation in the hand, and swelling over the thumb side of the wrist, and difficulty gripping with the affected side of the hand. The onset is often gradual. Pain is made worse by movement of the thumb and wrist, and may radiate to the thumb or the forearm.

While treatment often includes of corticosteroid injections, research seems to indicate that such treatment may worsen the long-term outcome[2].

[1] Ilyas et al: De Quervain tenosynovitis of the wrist in Journal of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons – 2007
[2] Freire, Bureau: Injectable Corticosteroids: Take Precautions and Use Caution in Seminars in Muskuloskeletal Radiology - 2016

Postpartum Blues Syndrome

Postpartum Blues Syndrome is a transient mild depression occurring post partum is so ubiquitous and ostensibly benign that it has not often been deemed worthy of serious study[1].

Consequently, considerable uncertainty exists about the basic characteristics and significance of this syndrome. In females, the study of stress in the life cycle demands attention to endocrine-behavioral interaction, since some of the times of greatest life stress (ie, menarche, pregnancy, and menopause) occur simultaneously with marked fluctuations in hormonal levels.
Although it is associated with a critical phase in the life cycle, the dysphoria curiously occurs after delivery at a time when one would expect women to feel joyous. In fact, this period is occasionally the moment of onset of a major emotional upheaval—the postpartum psychosis.

References to this mild postpartum dysphorias first appeared in the medical literature in the late 19th century. The term 'milk fever' was used in 1875, since the dysphoria appeared to coincide with the onset of lactation. Another synonym, 'third day blues', was employed for similar reasons.

Symptoms include crying, insomnia, restlessness and confusion were observed in a large proportion of women post partum.

Postpartum Blues Syndrome is nót a Postnatal Depression, otherwise known as Postpartum Depression (PPD).

[1] Yalom et al: 'Postpartum blues' Syndrome in Archives of General Psychology - 1968

Walking Deficiency Syndrome

According to the WHO, the number of people with diabetes has risen from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014. Diabetes is a major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke and lower limb amputation. Healthy diet, regular physical activity, maintaining a normal body weight and avoiding tobacco use are ways to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes[1].

The term 'type 2 diabetes' gives everyone the impression that the problem is a disease, but some beg to differ.
According to Sir Muir Gray, one of Britain's leading medical practitioners, type 2 diabetes should be renamed 'walking deficiency syndrome' because he thinks it's not a 'real disease'[2].

Sir Muir Gray has done extensive research on how modern lifestyles such as sitting at a desk or in a car are contributing to the risk of disease. He claims that type 2 diabetes, which is largely preventable, but costs the NHS billions of pounds a year to treat, should be renamed because it is caused by the 'modern environment'.

Sir Muir Gray said: 'I wrote about this and somebody wrote back and said it was called a 'metabolic syndrome'. I said I don't believe in metabolic syndromes. The problem with calling it type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome makes you think it's like rheumatoid arthritis or a real disease. These are conditions caused by the modern environment.'

Nearly 4 million people in the UK suffer from diabetes and approximately 90 per cent of these are type 2 diabetes sufferers. By contrast, type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition and often emerges in childhood.

The chances of developing type 2 diabetes are greatly exacerbated by being overweight and many sufferers are able to reverse the condition by dieting alone.

[1] World Health Organization: Global report on diabetes – 2016
[2] Type 2 diabetes? It's 'walking deficiency syndrome' and not a real illness, says top doctor in Daily Mail – 2017

Sudden Unexplained Nocturnal Death Syndrome

Sudden Unexplained Nocturnal Death Syndrome is also known as sudden arrhythmic death syndrome (SADS), sudden adult death syndrome or sudden unexpected/unexplained death syndrome (SUDS. Like the name implies, it is a sudden unexpected death of adolescents and young adults, mainly during their sleep.

This syndrome is rare in most areas around the world, but it seems to mainly target Southeast Asians. It seems to occur mainly in populations that are culturally and genetically distinct and people who leave the population carry with them the vulnerability to sudden death during sleep.
Sudden unexplained death syndrome was first noted in 1977 among southeast Asian Hmong refugees in the US[1]. The disease was again noted in Singapore, when a retrospective survey of records showed that 230 otherwise healthy Thai men died suddenly of unexplained causes between 1982 and 1990. Nepalese men, working in Saudi Arabia or Malaysia also came 'home in caskets'[2].

A Tokyo Medical Examiner reported that every year several hundred evidently healthy men are found dead in their beds in the Tokyo District alone. These observations indicate that the recent sudden deaths of Southeast Asian refugees are not a new occurrence, but rather an ongoing pattern of sudden deaths that appears in Southeast Asia.

Although there has been a significant amount of research on this topic, scientists have not been able to determine the exact cause. One possible cause, however, is Brugada Syndrome, a genetic disease that is characterised by abnormal electrocardiogram (ECG) findings[3]. It has been implicated as a major cause of Sudden Unexplained Nocturnal Death Syndrome.

My own hypothesis is that these young males died of a broken heart as a result of continued stress because of prolonged homesickness.

[1] Munger: Sudden death in sleep of Laotian-Hmong refugees in Thailand: a case-control study in American Journal of Public Health - 1987
[2] Hisdustan Times: 21dec17. See here
[3] Gourrault et al: Brugada syndrome: Diagnosis, risk stratification and management in Archives of Cardiovascular Diseases - 2017

Imaginary Lat Syndrome

Imaginary Lat Syndrome is a condition that is not recognised by the medical or psychological propefssions. The syndrome manifests itself if someone, typically a male, believes they are rather muscular when in reality this isn't the case. Lat is short for 'latissimus dorsi' muscles in the bodybuilding world.
Those with Imaginary Lat Syndrome can typically be seen walking uncomfortably while flaring their small lat muscles and tensing their arms in an attempt to look 'muscled'. In reality, it appears silly and the person looks like a toothbrush has been shoved up their backside.

Manlets are at high risk of falling victim to this syndrome due to reasons of overcompensation.

Delusional Misidentification Syndromes

Delusional Misidentification Syndromes are considered some sort of an umbrella term, introduced by Christodoulou in his book 'The Delusional Misidentification Syndromes', for a group of delusional disorders that occur in the context of mental or neurological illnesses. They all involve a belief that the identity of a person, object or place has somehow changed or has been altered. As these delusions typically only concern one particular topic, they also fall under the category called monothematic delusions.


This syndrome is usually considered to include several variants:
[1] Capgras delusion is the belief that (usually) a close relative or spouse has been replaced by an identical-looking impostor;
[2] Fregoli delusion is the belief that various people the believer meets are actually the same person in disguise;
[3] Intermetamorphosis is the belief that people in the environment swap identities with each other whilst maintaining the same appearance;
[4] Subjective doubles as described by Christodoulou in 1978 is the belief that there is a doppelgänger or double of him- or herself carrying out independent actions;
[5] Mirrored-self misidentification is the belief that one's reflection in a mirror is some other person;
[6] Reduplicative paramnesia is the belief that a familiar person, place, object or body part has been duplicated. For example, a person may believe that they are in fact not in the hospital to which they were admitted, but an identical-looking hospital in a different part of the country, despite this being obviously false;
[7] Cotard Syndrome is a rare disorder in which people hold a delusional belief that they are dead (either figuratively or literally), do not exist, are putrefying, or have lost their blood or internal organs. In rare instances, it can include delusions of immortality;
[8] Syndrome of delusional companions is the belief that objects (such as soft toys) are sentient beings;
[9] Clonal pluralization of the self, where a person believes there are multiple copies of him- or herself, identical both physically and psychologically but physically separate and distinct.
There is considerable evidence such disorders are associated with disorders of face perception and recognition[1]. However, it has been suggested that all misidentification problems exist on a continuum of anomalies of familiarity, from déjà vu at one end to the formation of delusional beliefs at the other.

[1] Sno: A Continuum of Misidentification Symptoms in Psychopathology - 1994

Floppy Trunk Syndrome

Floppy Trunk Syndrome is also known as flaccid trunk paralysis. It is a condition that causes trunk paralysis in African bush elephants (Loxodonta africana). Initially observed in 1989, the syndrome primarily affected bull elephants in several select regions in Zimbabwe[1].
The paralysis has been observed to start at the tip and work its way upward over the course of several months. As their trunks become increasingly paralyzed, elephants have difficulty feeding and learn to use their front feet or throw their trunk over branches to aid feeding. To avoid stomping on their trunk while walking, an elephant afflicted with the condition would fling their trunk over their tusks. In later stages of paralysis, affected elephants needed to submerge themselves partially in water to drink. However, despite these learned adaptations, affected elephants were observed as emaciated, suffering from muscle atrophy and a lack of visceral fat. Untreated, this handicap could result in starvation.

The syndrome has only been observed in free-ranging elephants, specifically African bush elephants and primarily affects older male elephants. Over thirty elephants were observed to be afflicted with this paralysis.

The cause of this syndrome is currently unknown, but researchers suggest several possible poisonous plant species, such as Heliotropium ovalifolium, Indigofera and Boerhavia. Cases of poisoning of sheep and goat in Sudan have been reported, and a fatal liver disease in Australian horses has been attributed to Heliotropium ovalifolium. However, extensive tests using extracts of the plant failed to reveal any neurotoxicity in in vivo test systems[2].

[1] Kock et al: Flaccid trunk paralysis in free-ranging elephants (Loxodonta africana) in Zimbabwe in Journal of Wildlife Diseases – 1994
[2] Guntern et al: Heliotropamide, a Novel Oxopyrrolidine-3-carboxamide from Heliotropium ovalifolium in Journal of Natural Products – 2003

Parental Avoidance Syndrome

Parental Avoidance Syndrome is a non-existant syndrome, jokingly referred to in 'The Flying Club', an episode of Midsomer Murders.

During that episode the parents of resident pathologist Kate Wilding come to visit her. Her father, Giles, is pensioned off and is bored to death, so he tries to 'help' his daughter.
Kate tries to evade her parents, something DCI John Barnaby not fails to notice.

Hair Tourniquet Syndrome

Hair tourniquet is a medical condition wherein a hair or other thread becomes tied around a toe or finger so tightly that the digits experience strangulation. Eventually the digits may suffer so much damage that they face amputation.
First called Toe Tourniquet Syndrome in 1971, it is now better known as Hair Tourniquet Syndrome because it can also affect fingers.

The problem usually arises in babies and small children when hairs or threads are lost loosely inside socks. They can become spontaneously tied round a toe and will tend to tighten with wriggling. Natural hair is much more likely to undergo this phenomenon than spun thread. Incidents such as this can also occur during sleep.

The condition is common enough, though relatively under reported[1].

[1] Lohana et al: Toe-Tourniquet Syndrome: A Diagnostic Dilemma! in Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England – 2006

Parental Alienation Syndrome

Parental Alienation Syndrome (abbreviated as PAS) is a term coined by Richard A. Gardner in the early 1980s to refer to what he describes as a disorder in which a child, on an ongoing basis, belittles and insults one parent without justification, due to a combination of factors, including indoctrination by the other parent (almost exclusively as part of a child custody dispute) and the child's own attempts to denigrate the target parent[1][2].

Advocates see three types of Parental Alienation Syndrome:
Naïve alienators are parents who are passive about the children's relationship with the other parent but will occasionally do or say something that can alienate. All parents will occasionally be naïve alienators.
Active alienators also know better than to alienate, but their intense hurt or anger causes them to impulsively lose control over their behavior or what they say. Later, they may feel very guilty about how they behaved.
- Obsessed alienators have a fervent cause to destroy the targeted parent. Frequently a parent can be a blend between two types of alienators, usually a combination between the naïve and active alienator. Rarely does the obsessed alienator have enough self-control or insight to blend with the other types. These three patterns of alienating behaviors are not intended to be used as a diagnosis.
The American Psychiatric Association deemed it not necessary to include Parental Alienation Syndrome in their Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM–5)[3]. The result is that attorneys commonly utilize this as an easy way out: PAS doesn’t exist because it’s not in DSM-5.

[1] Gardner: Recent Trends in Divorce and Custody Litigation in Academy Forum – 1985
[2] Gardner: Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS): Sixteen Years Later in Academy Forum – 2001
[3] Bernet, Baker: Parental alienation, DSM-5, and ICD-11: response to critics in Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law – 2013

Doctor's Receptionist Syndrome

The Doctor's Receptionist Syndrome is the illusion that some doctors receptionists have when they feel they are more important than the doctor who employ them. Others call it a personality flaw in which people suppose that, because they work for someone important like a doctor, they must have an equal claim to status and authority.
These receptionists are mostly full of self importance and seem to think they know medical issues better than the doctor himself (or herself). They also run a tight ship and feel protective about their employers.

Cannabis Vomiting Syndrome

Cannabis Vomiting Syndrome is officially known as Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome. This syndrome is characterized by recurrent nausea, vomiting and crampy abdominal pain.
While the use of marijuana (weed or cannabis) has steadily been legalized in more and more states of the USA, only now doctors and legislators are beginning to see the drawbacks of heavy, long-term marijuana use. They should have listened to the men and women who are in the frontline of drugs abuse in The Netherlands: marijuana isn't the soft drug some want us to think it is. It makes virtual zombies out of many a young adult and frequently will lead to onset of schizophrenia[1].

But America is the land of the free. So, the use of marijuana is now free too. Users claim that it is an effective treatment for nausea. It is, but just for a short while. If use for a prolonged period of time it will create the problems you thought it would treat.

It is certainly something that, before legalization, we almost never saw,” Dr. Kennon Heard said. “Now we are seeing it quite frequently.” He works at the University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora, Colorado and he and his team documented this rise in a 2015 paper published in Academic Emergency Medicine[1]. They studied 120,000 patient visits — half of which were studied in 2008 to 2009 (the “pre-liberalization” period of marijuana) and the other from 2010 to 2011. The doctors found that the prevalence of patients exhibiting cyclical vomiting doubled in that time period[2].

The symptoms of Cannabis Vomiting Syndrome can be stopped by stopping the use of marijuana, but that might prove more difficult that anticipated by lawmakers. Another option is to take a hot shower or bath. That will temporarily alleviate the symptoms.

[1] Frascarelli et al: Cannabis use related to early psychotic onset: Role of premorbid function in Neuroscience Letters - 2016
[2] Kim et al: Cyclic Vomiting Presentations Following Marijuana Liberalization in Colorado in Academic Emergency Medicine – 2015. See here.

Eat your Heart out

algivore: Eater of algae
ambivore: Eater of grasses and broad-leaved plants
amphivore: Eater of both animal and vegetable foods (also known as omnivore)
animavore: Eater of souls
aphidivore: Eater of aphids
apivore: Eater of bees
arachnivore: Eater of spiders
aurivore: Eater of gold
avivore: Eater of birds

baccivore: Eater of berries
bacterivore: Eater of bacteria
batrachivore: Eater of water bottoms
brychocarnivore: Eater of meat with a lot of noise and greed
brychomnivore: Eater in a noisy, barbaric way

calcivore: Eater of calcium, limestone
cancrivore: Eater of crabs
carnivore: Eater of meat
cepivore: Eater of onions
comburivore: Eaten by fire
concarnivore: Eater of foods that only contains meat
corallivore: Eater of coral

detritivore: Eater of dead organic material, especially plant detritus

equivorous: Eating horse-flesh
erucivore: Eater of caterpillars
exudativore: Eater of gum and other exudates from trees

ferrivore: Eater of iron
fimivore: Eater of dung
florivore: Eater of flowers or plant species
folivore: Eater of leaves
forbivore: Eater of broad-leaved plants
formicivore: Eater of ants
formivore: Eater of ants
frondivore: Eater of leaves
fructivore: Eater of fruit
frugivore: Eater of fruit
fucivore: Eater of seaweed
fumivore: Eater of smoke
fungivore: Eater of fungi

gallivore: Eater of galls
graminivore: Eater of grasses
granivore: Eater of grain
gumivore: Eater of gums secreted by plants

herbivore: Eater of plants
hominivore: Eater of humans
humanovore: Eater of humans
humivore: Eater of humus

insectivore: Eater of insects
invertivore: Eater invertebrates 

lactivore: Eater of milk
larvivore: eater of larvae
leguminivore: Eater of beans, peas and other legumes
lichenivore: Eater of lichens
lignivore: Eater of wood or lignite
limnivore: Eater of mud
lithovore: Eater of rocks and minerals
locavore: Eater of only locally grown food

mellivore: Eater of honey
merdivore: Eater of excrement
microbivore: Eater of microorganisms
molluscivore: Eater of molluscs
mucivore: Eater of plant juices
mycovore: Eater of fungi
myristicivore: Eater of nutmeg
myrmevore: Eater of ants

nectarivore: Eater of nectar
nucivore: Eater of nuts

offivore: Eater of offal
omnivore: Eater of any type of available food
ornithivore: Eater of birds
oryzivore: Eater of rice
ossivore: Eater of bones
ovivore: Eater of eggs or sheep

palynivore: Eater of pollen
panivore: Eater of bread
photovore: 'Eater' of light as a source of energy
phytivore: Eater of plants or vegetable matter
phytosuccivore: Eater of the sap of plants
pigmentivore: Eater of pigments, destroyer of paint
pinivore: Eater of pine seeds
piscivore: Eater of fish
planktivore: Eater of plankton
plurivore: Eater of many things
pollenivore: Eater of pollen
pollinivore: Eater of pollen produced by plant stamens
pomivore: Eater of apples
pupivore: Eater of pupae

quercivore: Eater of oak leaves or acorns

radicivore: Eater of tubers and roots
ranivore: Eater of frogs

reptilivore: Eater of reptiles

sanguinivore: Eater of blood
saprovore: Eater of dead or decaying organic matter
seminivore: Eater of seeds
serpentivore: Eater of snakes
spongivore: Eater of sponges
stellavore: Eater of stars (massive black hole or Egyptian god Seth)
stercovore: Eater of excrement or dung

uncarnivore: Non-meat eater
univore: Eater of just one kind of food or eating just once a day

vermivore: Eater of worms and insects (vermin)
voracivore: Eater of great quantities of food

xylovore: Eater of wood

zoosuccivore: Eater of the liquid secretions of decaying animal matter

Mostly taken from here.

Baboon Syndrome

Baboon Syndrome is more properly known as Symmetrical Drug-Related Intertriginous and Flexural Exanthema (SDRIFE). Yes, the term Baboon Syndrome is more easy to remember, but the syndrome also resembles the distinctive red buttocks displayed by some male baboon species
Baboon Syndrome is a systemic contact dermatitis characterized by well-demarcated patches of erythema distributed symmetrically on the buttocks. The cause of the syndrome may be drug-related, sometimes induced by systemic administration of hydroxyzine[1] penicillin[2], iodinated radio contrast media[3] and others[4].

The typical rash commonly appears on buttocks. This then resembles the colour of a baboon’s buttocks. Other areas, like upper inner thigh and armpits, may be affected by the rash. The rashes are red and well-defined. The presentation is typically symmetrical and not associated with systemic symptoms.
Baboon syndrome affects both sexes equally, and can occur at any age, but seems to be more common in childhood than in adulthood.

[1] Akkari et al: Baboon syndrome induced by hydroxyzine in Indian Journal of Dermatology – 2013
[2] Handisurya et al: SDRIFE (baboon syndrome) induced by penicillin in Clinical and Experimental Dermatology – 2009
[3] Arnold et al: Recurrent flexural exanthema (SDRIFE or baboon syndrome) after administration of two differentiodinated radio contrast media in Dermatology – 2007
[4] Cohen: Zoledronic acid-associated symmetrical drug-related intertriginous and flexural exanthema (SDRIFE): report of baboon syndrome in a woman with recurrent metastatic breast cancer after receiving zoledronic acid in Dermatology Online Journal – 2015

Red Skin Syndrome

Red Skin Syndrome (RRS) is also known as Topical Steroid Addiction (TSA) or Topical Steroid Withdrawal (TSW).

Red Skin Syndrome is a debilitating condition that can arise from the prolonged use or cessation of topical steroids (corticosteroids, glucocorticosteroids or cortisone) to treat a skin problem, such as eczema.
Red Skin Syndrome is characterized by red, itchy, burning skin that can appear after ceasing topical steroid treatments. In Red Skin Syndrome, topical steroids are effective for a period of time to treat the skin condition, but as time passes, applying topical steroids results in less and less clearing. The original problem escalates as it spreads to other areas of the body. In the case of eczema, this 'progression' is often mistaken for worsening eczema.

Red Skin Syndrome is an iatrogenic condition, which means it is a condition caused inadvertently by a medical treatment and proper management of the condition requires cessation of topical steroid treatment.

Signs and symptons of Red Skin Syndrome can be divided into 'before' and 'after' discontinuation:
[1] Before discontininuation: [a] Rashes spreading and developing in new areas of the body, [b] intense itching, burning and stinging, [c] failure to clear with usual course of treatment, thus requiring a higher potency topical steroid to achieve progressively less clearing and [d] increased allergic response
[2] After cessation: [a] Skin flushing bright red, resembling a sunburn, [b] flaking of skin – appears to be ‘snowing’, [c] oozing exudate, [d] skin cycling between oozing, swelling, burning and flaking, [e] red sleeves (arms/legs become red and inflamed, [f] thermoregulation altered (feeling too cold or too hot), [g] hypersensitivity of the skin to water, movement, moisturizer, fabrics, temperature, etc, [h] nerve pain, sometimes described as 'sparklers' or 'zingers', [i] enlarged lymph nodes, [j] edema, [k] eye dryness and irritation, [l] skin atrophy (often manifesting as 'elephant wrinkles'), [m] hair loss (head and/or body), [n] insomnia, altered body clock, [o] appetite changes, [p] fatigue and [q] emotional fluctuations, depression, anxiety.

Read here how Red Skin Syndrome influenced the life of my friend, Elaine Thomson.

Silo Unloader Syndrome

Silo Unloader Syndrome is an occupational lung disease that occurs in farm workers who go into a silo and breath in the nitrogen dioxide which is toxic to the body. Some sources erroneously claim that the causing agent is dust from food or feed that is present in a silo, but that syndrome is better described by the Organic Dust Toxicity Syndrome.
When a silo is filled with fresh organic material (grain, grass, etc), nitrogen dioxide is formed by anaerobic fermentation. High levels can develop at the top of grain in silos or at the top of silage pits within hours of their filling.

Nitrogen dioxide penetrates deeply into the lungs, where it is reactive with lung surface fluids and acts as a pulmonary irritant. When nitrogen dioxide contacts the lung surface fluids, it slowly hydrolyzes to nitrous and nitric acid, producing chemical pneumonitis and pulmonary edema.

Signs and symptoms of Silo Unloader Syndrome include cough, light-headedness, shortness of breath (dyspnea), chest tightness, choking, sweating, chest pain, and wheezing.

When afflicted, the farmer may die immediately of asphyxia or succumb to pulmonary edema within 24 hours. Survivors often develop progressive bronchitis within a few weeks.

Dancing eyes-Dancing feet Syndrome

Dancing eyes-Dancing feet Syndrome is medically better known as the Opsoclonus-myoclonus syndrome (OMS). It is a rare neurologic disorder characterized by rapid, multi-directional eye movements (opsoclonus), sudden muscle contractions (myoclonic jerks), uncoordinated movement (ataxia), irritability and sleep disturbance.
The onset is usually abrupt, often severe and can become chronic. Dancing eyes-Dancing feet Syndrome typically occurs in association with tumors (neuroblastomas) or following a viral infection. Relapses are common and may occur without warning.

Signs and symptoms of Dancing eyes-Dancing feet Syndrome may include [a] an unsteady and trembling gait, [b] sudden, brief, shock-like muscle spasms (myoclonus) and [c] irregular, rapid eye movements (opsoclonus). Muscle spasms occur  most when trying to move and worsens with agitation or stimulation, but can also be present at rest. An affected person may appear tremulous, or have jerking movements. The face, eyelids, limbs, fingers, head and trunk may be involved. During the peak of the illness, sitting or standing is difficult or even impossible. Other symptoms may include difficulty speaking; poorly articulated speech or an inability to speak; difficulty eating or sleeping; excessive drooling; incoordination; rage attacks; head tilt; a decrease in muscle tone; malaise; and/or other abnormalities. Children may appear to be nervous, irritable or lethargic while adults may have mental clouding (encephalopathy).

Recently this syndrome has been linked to infections with Dengue Virus[1], Zika Virus[2], West Nile Virus[3] and Influenza A Virus[4].

[1] Tan et al: Opsoclonus-myoclonus-ataxia syndrome associated with dengue virus infection in Parkinsonism and Related Disorders – 2015
[2] Burness: New evidence finds mosquitoes could infect humans with Zika and chikungunya viruses at the same time in EurekAlert – 2016
[3] Bîrluţiu et al: Opsoclonus-myoclonus syndrome attributable to West Nile encephalitis: a case report in Journal of Medical Case Reports – 2014
[4] Morita et al: Opsoclonus-myoclonus syndrome following influenza a infection in Internal Medicine – 2015

Lactational Insanity Syndrome

Lactational Insanity Syndrome was a term once used to describe the mental anguish of women who had given birth. Nearly all medical writers in the late 19th century describe the mental derangements occurring during pregnancy (the puerperium) and the nursing period under the collective title 'puerperal insanity'.
[Newgate prison]
Some authors classified puerperal insanity into the insanity of pregnancy (the puerperal period proper) and the insanity of lactational (the nursing period). They arbitrarily assumed that the latter begins six weeks to two months after labor[1].

Prolonged or excessive lactation is given as the chief cause of insanity occurring during the nursing period. However, it remained ‘an untidy, elusive disorder’, without any shared understanding of a unique symptomology or treatment protocol.

The syndrome was entrenched in Victorian expectations of proper womanly behaviour. New research clearly shows that the class or social status of the patients had a bearing on how their conditions were perceived and rationalized. The diagnosis was further coloured by the values assigned to it and may have been reserved for some women and not for others. Thus there existed a sharp contrast in the way that middle-class and working-class women were diagnosed[2]. A vivid description of the squalid and inhuman conditions in Victorian hospitals and asylums can be read in E.S. Thomson's 'Beloved Poison' and 'Dark Asylum'.


Yet, women can be seriously depressed after childbirth and postpartum psychosis has been described for over 2,000 years. Modern science supports a genetic component to the risk, but the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders still does not include it as a diagnosis[3].

[1] Rohé: Lactational Insanity in Journal of the American Medical Association – 1893
[2] Campbell: 'Noisy, restless and incoherent': puerperal insanity at Dundee Lunatic Asylum in History of Psychiatry – 2016
[3] Friedman and Sorrentino: Commentary: postpartum psychosis, infanticide, and insanity--implications for forensic psychiatry in Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and Law – 2012

The One That Got Away Syndrome

The One That Got Away Syndrome is the persistent belief in the saying that 'all fishermen are born honest, but they soon grow out of it', extends into actual capture stories.
In a world of clichés about fishermen, another may not go astray: We prefer to believe, what we want to be true, is an old adage, but true nonetheless.

So, why would we believe those improbable stories, when in our hearts of hearts we know them untrue? Possibly, it's simply love. We love our partners to come back from their fishing trips happily and content. If we allow them to confess that the whole trip was a disaster, he (or very occasionally she) will have to acknowledge that the time would be better spend by staying at home with his (or her) loved one.

Medical X's Abbreviations

The interpretation of an abbreviation may vary in different contexts.

Ax - - Assessment, Axilla, Anxiety
Bx - - Biopsy, Behaviour, Bilateral
BHx - Birth History
Cx - - Cervix, Culture, Cancel, Culex (mosquito)
CTx - - Chemotherapy
Dx - - Diagnosis, Donation
DDx - - Differential Diagnosis
DHx - - Diet History
Ex - - Example, Equipment, Exercise
Fx - - Fracture, Function, Family
FHx - - Family History
Gx - - Gene Expression
Hx - - History (Anamnese)
HxPC - - History of Present Complaint(s)
Ix - - Investigation
Jx - - Joint
Lx - - Lymph node, Lymphatic, Laxative, Luxation
Mx - - Medication, Metastasis
Nx - - No Exercise
Ox - - Oxygen
Px - - Prognosis, Physical (Examination), Procedure, Problem
PMHx - - Past Medical History
Qx - - Ok
Rx - - Recipe, Receive
Sx - - Signs & Symptoms, Surgery
SHx - - Social History
Tx - - Therapy, Treatment, Transplant, Traction, Transfer
Vx - - Vertex
Wx - - Weather (non-medical)

If you know one that isn't listed yet, please let me know here.

Martha Syndrome

The Martha Syndrome has been invented by people who think that the Bible contains the truth and nothing but the truth. To them the Martha Syndrome has two diagnostic features - the need to be continually busy and anxiety about getting everything done[1].

In the story of Martha and Mary we are reminded to get our priorities right. Jesus gently corrected Martha for her anxious concern over the practical, physical things of life, whereas Mary was content to sit at Jesus’ feet and listen to what he was saying.
Jesus himself took time out from the demands of his ministry, to draw aside to be with God and to encourage his disciples to do the same. We need to ensure that we make time to just ‘be’, to sit with God and hear what he has to say to us, to hear things we cannot hear if we are always ‘doing’.

It is probably needless to mention that there never has been a scientific study featuring this syndrome. I'm not sure if the day-to-day running of a busy household would be worthy of a syndrome, but feel free to believe in it.

[1] Christian Medical Fellowship: The Martha Syndrome

Leaky Brain Syndrome

If you completed your medical degree, you might think: I've studied for years on end and read countless medical books, but I've never heard of a condition called Leaky Brain Syndrome. You're right because this syndrome has been 'invented' by idiots who try to exploit the gullible.
You know the drill: mention a host of medical problems that are unrelated, claim they are related to some problem and advise patients that they can live a healthy life by eating the right food or ingest massive amounts of vitamins and minerals. These days 'gluten sensitivity' is often regarded as the culprit, but it's all a myth[1].

Thus you read on the internet of things sentences like 'Do you suffer from depression, anxiety, brain fog, headaches, or insomnia? How about Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, dementia, Multiple sclerosis, ALS, seizures, ME/CFS, or Autism? All of these neurological conditions have a common cause – chronic inflammation of the brain. Now answer this question – Have you ever taken antibiotics? If so, then the likelihood that you’ll experience one of these conditions, or others like them, is much greater. A round of antibiotics will destroy all the bacteria in your body within 5 to 7 days, causing a massive release of bacterial toxins into the circulatory system that prime your brain for a lifetime of chronic neuro-inflammation. This condition, Blood-Brain Barrier Hyperpermeability Syndrome, or “Leaky Brain”, can cause varying degrees of inflammation that can lead to the “diseases” and conditions listed above, as well as many others'.

It is not important to these deluded people that pharmaceutical companies are desperately trying to create medications that CAN permeate the blood brain barrier, hoping to finally treat some trivial problems like brain cancer or Alzheimer[2].

[1] Cruchet et al: Truths, Myths and Needs of Special Diets: Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Autism, Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity, and Vegetarianism in Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism - 2016 
[2] Erika Fry: How Medical Researchers Are Breaking the Blood-Brain Barrier. See here.

Occupational Lung Syndromes

Also called Pneumoconiosis. Some occupations can lead to exposure to substances that, when inhaled, can lead to problems in the respiratory system, such as chronic inflammation and scarring of the lungs.


Actinomycosis - caused by exposure to Actinomyces bacteria, such as Actinomyces israelii or Actinomyces gerencseriae. It can also be caused by Propionibacterium propionicus.
Alluminosis – caused by exposure to alluminium dust.
Anthracosis - caused by exposure to coal dust.
Asbestosis – caused by exposure to astbestos dust.
Aspergillosis – caused by exposure to fungi of the genus Aspergillus.
Bagassosis – caused by exposure to moldy molasses (bagasse).
Baritosis – caused by exposure to barium dust.
Berylliosis – caused by exposure to beryllium dust.
Bituminosis - caused by exposure to soft coal dust.
Blastomycosis – caused by exposure to the fungus Blastomyces dermatitidis. The fungus lives in moist soil and in association with decomposing organic matter such as wood and leaves.
Brucellosis – caused by ingestion of Brucella bacteria via unpasteurized milk.
Byssinosis – caused by exposure of cotton dust.
Chalicosis - caused by exposure to fine particles of stone. Also called flint disease.
Coccidioidomycosis - caused by the fungus Coccidioides. The fungus is known to live in the soil in the southwestern United States and parts of Mexico and Central and South America. Also called Valley Fever.
Fibrosis – The formation of excess fibrous connective tissue in an organ or tissue in a reparative (positive) or reactive (negative) process.
Fluorosis - caused by exposure to the high fluorine in clay that was used as a briquette binder for fine coals in Western China.
Hemosiderosis - caused by accumulation of Hemosiderosis (AmE) or haemosiderosis (BrE). It is a form of iron overload disorder resulting in the accumulation of hemosiderin.
Histoplasmosis – caused by exposure to a fungus, Histoplasma capsulatum, found in soil, often associated with decaying bat guano or bird droppings.
Legionellosis – caused by exposure to Legionella bacteria.
Melioidosis – caused by exposure to a bacterium, Burkholderia pseudomallei, found in soil and water.
Mucormycosis - caused by a group of molds called mucormycetes. It most commonly affects the sinuses or the lungs after inhaling. Previously called zygomycosis.
Nocardiosis - caused by exposure to a bacterium of the genus Nocardia, most commonly Nocardia asteroides or Nocardia brasiliensis. It affects either the lungs (pulmonary nocardiosis) or the whole body (systemic nocardiosis).
Ornithosis - see Psittacosis
Pasteurellosis - caused by exposure to a species of the bacterial genus Pasteurella.
Platinosis - caused by exposure to soluble salts of platinum.
Pneumoconiosis – caused by exposure to ash from a explosive volcano.
Psittacosis – caused by exposure to a bacterium, Chlamydophila psittaci, and contact from a variety of birds species.
Ricinosis - caused by exposure to ricin, a highly toxic, naturally occurring lectin produced in the seeds of the castor oil plant, Ricinus communis.
Sarcoidosis - a disease of unknown etiology, but it is suspected that it may be due to an immune reaction to an infection in those who are genetically predisposed. It involves abnormal collections of inflammatory cells that form lumps known as granulomas. The disease usually begins in the lungs, skin or lymph nodes.
Schistosis – caused by exposure to dust from slate.
Selenosis - caused by exposure to selenium. Exceeding the Tolerable Upper Intake Level of 400 micrograms per day regularly may result in lung problems.
Sequoiosis - casued by exposure to moldy redwood sawdust, contaminated with the fungus Pullularia pullulans or species of the genus Graphium.
Siderosis – caused by exposure to iron or iron oxide particles.
Silicatosis - caused by exposure to silicates (minerals with metallic ions bound to silica), such as talc, mica or kaolin.
Silicosis – caused by exposure to crystalline silica dust.
Silicosiderosis – caused by exposure to dust containing particles of iron ore and silica.
Sporotrichosis - caused by exposure to a fungus called Sporothrix. This fungus lives throughout the world in soil and on plant matter such as sphagnum moss, rose bushes and hay. Also called rose gardener's disease.
Stannosis – caused by exposure to tin oxides including stannous oxide (SnO) and stannic oxide (SnO2).
Suberosis – caused by exposure to a fungus, Penicillium glabrum, from exposure to moldy cork dust.
Tabacosis - caused by exposure to tobacco dust.
Talcosis – caused by exposure to talc, a hydrated magnesium silicate.
Torulopsosis - caused by exposure to Torulopsis glabrata, a yeast that is a normal inhabitant of the oropharynx, GI tract and skin. 
Tuberculosis – caused by exposure to strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis.


More to come. If you know one that isn't listed yet, please let me know here.

Survivor Syndrome

Survivor Syndrome, also known as concentration camp syndrome (or KZ syndrome because of the German term Konzentrationslager) or survivor guilt, is a mental condition that may occur when a person survives a traumatic event in which several died. It may be found among survivors of armed conflict, natural disasters, epidemics or even among the friends and family of those who have died by suicide. The patient, however, thinks that they must have done something wrong, simply because they survived the ordeal.
Symptoms of Survivor Syndrome can include a subset of known behaviors, including loss of initiative, stereotypy, perseveration of thought and action, hyperkinesia, hypokinesia, and, in extreme cases, akinesia or cognitive paralysis[1]. Even premature aging is a sign of this syndrome. It seems that people sometimes lose the will to live because of the traumatic memories they have to endure every waking moment[2].

Symptoms characteristic of Survivor Syndrome are often intensified or precipitated when the person is exposed to situations or activities that resemble or symbolize the original trauma (e.g., cold snowy/hot humid weather or uniformed guards for survivors of death camps in cold/tropical climates).

When the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV (DSM-IV) was published in 1994, survivor guilt was removed as a recognized specific psychiatric diagnosis, and redefined as a significant symptom of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

[1] Leach: Maladaptive behavior in survivors: dysexecutive survivor syndrome in Aviation, Space and Environmental Medicine – 2012
[2] Ryn: The evolution of mental disturbances in the concentration camp syndrome (KZ-syndrom) in Genetic, Social and General Psychology Monographs – 1990

Christmas Tree Syndrome

With a christmas tree we celebrate – no, not the birth of Jesus Christ – the lengthening of the days. Christmas is a Christianized pagan midwinter festival that used to be called Yule or Yuletide by Germanic tribes.

The christmas tree with its many lights simply symbolizes the bonfires that accompanied these ancient festivals. Christmas is therefore a both celebration that the dark, cold, endless nights will finally become shorter and it constitutes a starting point for the timing of planting of crops in the spring.
No problem there, you might think but christmas trees aren't a celebration for everyone. Especially people suffering from allergies are at risk. Most scientists point the finger accusingly at molds, but although a study did indeed find large numbers of Penicillium, Epicoccum and Alternaria, these failed to become airborne.

Pollen studies, however, showed release into air of significant amounts of weed, grass and tree pollens while Christmas trees were in the house. Oleoresins of the tree balsam are thought to be the most likely cause of the symptoms designated as Christmas tree allergy[1].

Symptoms of this seasonal syndrome include sneezing, wheezing and transitory skin rashes.

[1] Wyse et al: Christmas tree allergy: mould and pollen studies in Canadian Medical Association Journal - 1970

Sick Building Syndrome

When architects and corporations with management that has a bigger ego than skills want to design a commercial building, you know that the well-being of the occupants will be the least important factor on their minds.

Sick Building Syndrome is used to describe situations in which building occupants experience acute health and comfort effects that appear to be linked to time spent in a building, but no specific illness or cause can be identified. A 1984 World Health Organization (WHO) report suggested up to 30% of new and remodeled buildings worldwide may be subject of complaints related to poor indoor air quality[1].
That was the reason why office workers were often encouraged to bring green plants to their work space, because these plants were said to enhance air quality.

Building occupants complain of symptoms such as sensory irritation of the eyes, nose and throat, neurotoxic or general health problems, skin irritation, nonspecific hypersensitivity reactions, various unrelated infectious diseases and odor and taste sensations[2].

Sick building causes are frequently pinned down to flaws in the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. Other causes have been attributed to contaminants produced by outgassing of some types of building materials, volatile organic compounds (VOC), molds, improper exhaust ventilation of ozone (byproduct of some office machinery, like photocopiers), light industrial chemicals used within or lack of adequate fresh-air intake and/or air filtration.

But when serious studies were undertaken, it was soon discovered that the measured psycho-social circumstances appeared more influential than the tested environmental factors[3].

Translation: It's mostly in the mind.

[1] United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Sick Building Syndrome – 1984
[2] Sundell et al: Association between type of ventilation and airflow rates in office buildings and the risk of SBS-symptoms among occupants in Environmental International – 1994
[3] Marmot et al: Building health: an epidemiological study of "sick building syndrome" in the Whitehall II study in Occupational and Environmental Medicine - 2006

Hyacinth Bucket Syndrome

Hyacinth Bucket was the star of the successful British sitcom Keeping Up Appearances (1990-1995). Thanks to her long-suffering husband Richard, Hyacinth had a comfortable lifestyle.

But, during the recent recession reality caught up with fantasy. Some likened the imprudent behavior of many recession-hit Brits to Hyacinth Bucket who went to extraordinary lengths to impress her neighbors (including pronouncing her name “bouquet”). Now, the British are suffering from the Hyacinth Bucket Syndrome.
Apparently, while more than half of British home-owners were struggling with debt, at least a third would rather save face with friends and neighbors than reduce their spending. Despite the call by experts to downsize, the majority of Brits remain fixed on keeping their lifestyle the way it is. Like the character Hyacinth Bucket, it’s women who suffer most from the idea of downsizing. Over half of the women surveyed, compared to 50% cent of men, admit their home reflects who they are and downsizing would have a detrimental impact on their “status.”

The sad truth is that, as outlandish as Hyacinth’s behavior seems, she is, at least to some degree, an accurate representation of the small section of the British middle class that are both socially-obsessed and snobbish.

Perhaps we all have a little bit of Hyacinth in us. Nobody really wants to leave their confort zone, do they?

Carneiro Syndrome

Eva Carneiro was the first-team doctor of English footbal club Chelsea from 2009 to 2015.
Carneiro was the subject of severe and unduly criticism from Chelsea's coach José Mourinho when, according to Mourinho, she rushed onto the pitch to attend an injured player when he felt the injury was not of a serious nature. Under the laws of the game, medical staff are not allowed onto the field without the referee's permission, but have a duty to tend to an injured player when summoned. Carneiro was twice summoned onto the field by the referee.

Mourinho was claimed to have been swearing filha de puto ('daughter of a whore') to Carneiro who was subsequently forbidden to act as a first-team doctor by Mourinho.

But the unwarranted actions of their coach troubled the players immensely and they staged a silent revolt against Mourinho and almost all games were lost in that season.

The Carneiro Syndrome is also called the Third Season Syndrome, when the supposed magic of a coach wanes and he has played out all his tricks to motivate his players.

Witchcraft's Syndrome

Witchcraft's Syndrome is considered a subtype of Munchhausen's Syndrome by proxy.

There is only one case described in the medical literature and it concerns a man who used to pass out after consuming to much alcohol. When he woke up he complained of a burning sensation and soreness over his left cheek and left ear of ten days duration. It had started suddenly one morning when he woke up from sleep. He noticed a large blister with intense redness over his left cheek, associated with a burning sensation. There was a history of similar episodes over the past year, and all were sudden in onset, involved the cheeks, and were noticed after waking up from sleep.
The patient volunteered that the episodes were always associated with a drinking spree the previous night. The individual was a healthy man with a wife and two children. The patient had been dependent on alcohol for the past year, and had been consuming alcohol for many years.

After much persuasion, the wife admitted that her husband was an alcoholic and was neglecting his family. When her efforts to prevent his drinking failed, she resorted to this drastic measure. Each time he passed out after a drinking bout, she poured acid on his cheek, hoping that the injury would frighten him from drinking[1]. Sadly, it didn't work.

The couple were sent for psychiatric evaluation as Munchausen's Syndrome by proxy or witchcraft's syndrome was suspected.

[1] Somani: Witchcraft's syndrome: Munchausen's syndrome by proxy in International Journal of Dermatology - 1998

Pine Nut Syndrome

Pine nuts are an essential part of the renowned Mediterranean diet. They are one of the key ingredients of the Italian pesto. The pine nuts that are harvested in Europe mostly come from the stone pine (Pinus pinea), which has been cultivated for its nuts for over 6,000 years.

Lately, its great commercial success has led other countries to try and grab part of the market. One of these countries is China.
[source: The Great Pine Nut Mystery]
Having been consumed in the Mediterranean without any adverse health effects for millennia, some strange news appeared that consuming pine nuts can cause taste disturbances, lasting from a few days to a few weeks after consumption. A bitter, metallic, unpleasant taste lasting 1-3 days after ingestion of pine nuts is reported, being worse on day two and typically lasting up to two weeks. Cases are self-limited and resolve without treatment[1].

This phenomenon was first described in a scientific paper in 2001. Publications have made reference to this phenomenon as pine nut syndrome or as pine mouth. At least several thousand cases have now been described in the scientific literature.

A 2011 study has indicated that nuts from a related species, the Chinese white pine (Pinus armandii), which occurs mostly in China, are the cause of the problem[2]. The nuts of this species are somewhat smaller, duller, and more rounded than original pine nuts.

The specific toxin that is apparently present in affected nuts has not yet been isolated. Luckily, there are no known lasting effects and the FDA reports that there are "no apparent adverse clinical side effects".

A large and very interesting weblog about the pine nut syndrome can be found here.

[1] Munk: Pine mouth (pine nut) syndrome: description of the toxidrome, preliminary case definition, and best evidence regarding an apparent etiology in Seminars in Neurology - 2012
[2] Destaillats et al: Identification of the botanical origin of commercial pine nuts responsible for dysgeusia by gas-liquid chromatography analysis of Fatty Acid profile in Journal of Toxicology - 2011

Leaky Gut Syndrome

The Leaky Gut Syndrome is another one of those non-exiting syndromes in which so many easy to deceive people want to believe. It is an medically unrecognized condition which some alternative health practitioners claim is the cause of a wide range of serious chronic diseases, including diabetes, lupus, acne, allergies, arthritis, asthma, autism and multiple sclerosis.

Believers claim that poor diet, parasites, infection, or even medications cause damage to the intestinal wall or lining, permitting toxins, microbes, undigested food or other substances to leak through. According to the 'patients', this 'leakage' prompts the body to initiate an immune reaction that - in turn - leads to the signs and symptoms.
While it's true that some conditions and medications can cause a 'real' leaky gut (what scientists call increased intestinal permeability), there is currently little or no evidence to support the theory that a porous bowel is the direct cause of any significant, widespread problems. As you might expect no real docter has ever seen an illusionary leaky gut in an MRI-scan and those scans are tailor-made to detect such an ailment.

So, we have a illusionary syndrome and a large number of believers and then you probably know what happens next: enter the quacks.

To remedy the imagined Leaky Gut Syndrome you should go on a diet that eliminates refined sugars, dairy, gluten, alcohol and artificial sweeteners. I won't even mention the more aggressive form of 'treatments' that are sometimes used to repair the Leaky Gut Syndrome.