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Food-name afflictions

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Cauliflower ears (PJ, 5 November 2011, p537) are a less common affliction these days, thanks to protective headgear worn by those scrumming down. And port wine stains are relatively easily removed with laser treatment. But common or not, how many other conditions named after foods would you recognise in a clinical case study?

Like port wine stains, café au lait spots are harmless birthmarks named after their characteristic colour. But the presence of at least six café au lait spots with a diameter of at least 5mm before puberty or 15mm after puberty is diagnostic of neurofibromatosis type 1, a genetic disorder that causes non-cancerous lumps. They can also indicate other conditions, including tuberous sclerosis, Legius syndrome and Bloom’s syndrome.

Watermelon stomach, or gastric antral vascular ectasia, is a rare cause of gastrointestinal bleeding or iron deficiency anaemia. In this condition blood vessels in the antrum of the stomach become dilated, producing streaky red areas that are said to resemble the markings on a watermelon.

A chocolate cyst is caused by endometriosis and formed when a tiny patch of endometrial tissue bleeds, sloughs off, becomes transplanted and grows inside the ovaries. Blood accumulates and turns a chocolate brown colour.

Strawberry gallbladder, or gallbladder cholesterolosis, is a change in the gallbladder wall due to excess cholesterol. The typically stippled appearance of the mucosal surface resembles a strawberry.

And nutmeg liver, or congestive hepatopathy, is caused by venous congestion usually due to congestive heart failure. The affected liver appears speckled, like a grated nutmeg kernel. The dark spots represent the dilated and congested hepatic venules and small hepatic veins, and the paler areas are unaffected liver tissue.

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From: Beyond pharmacy blog

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