Media Medicine contains terminology that came to medicine via popular culture, Greek mythology and classic literature, syndromes created by bloggers or as an expediency by clever screenwriters, and terms that are linked to real people, dead or alive. Also included in this section is “Medspeak”, the verbal or written shorthand used by doctors to communicate with each other. And finally, I included terms from sexology, which is hard to take seriously until the medical examiner has to testify at an inquest that the ligature around a neck is best explained by masturbation-related autoerotic asphyxiation…or the surgeon has to pick glass from a broken lightbulb in the rectum in the context of anal eroticism
Many of the terms in this section were named for their physical verisimilitude to people, places and things with which we are all familiar.
Most of these terms have some value in practice, for example, the molar tooth sign is a classic diagnostic finding in the midbrain on transverse CT and MRI of patients with Joubert syndrome, which is caused by an absent decussation of the superior cerebellar peduncular fibre tracts, and bears a striking resemblance to a molar tooth. Similarly, the shofar sign is highly characteristic of the über rare Crohn’s disease of the stomach and is named after the shofar, a ram’s horn, blown on high holy days in Judaism. It made sense to lump the fun terms together rather than mix the key lime pie with the Brussels sprouts.
For better or worse, I’ve included terms that look to be medical because a blogger or another writer slapped the word syndrome on a term that he or she coined and the term took a life of its own. Examples of non-medical “syndromes” include acute thespian syndrome, bored cop syndrome, Cheshire cat syndrome, I love you syndrome, and too many etcetera syndromes to bother counting.