Quinism (and Lunch)

5 May


Quinism (and my lunch)

Have you any idea how few diseases or anatomical parts begin with Q? I can count them on the fingers of one hand. How to choose a relevant one for this series? – And what a challenge! I chose Quinism, otherwise known as Cinchonism, from an overdose of the bark of the Cinchona bush, otherwise known as Quinine.

Quinine is used to treat malaria. The connection here was with some research I did for the WHO in the 1980s. We looked at hundreds of children’s X-rays from developing countries around the world. Amongst other things we noticed malaria had a particular appearance – something that was unexpected. I didn’t have an actual example in my collection so chose a similar child’s X-ray.

Overdosing with quinine causes very unpleasant side effects, including fever, headache, and nausea – also signs of malaria! Quinine can trigger a hypersensitivity-reaction known as black-water fever, causing massive breakdown of red cells in the blood, the haemoglobin is passed out in the urine which goes dark red or black. A childhood friend in Zambia with that condition nearly died of it.

The layers of the image include the components of my lunch today; a sandwich with a layer each of bread, butter, corned beef, and mustard pickle, in that order. It’s appropriate to include an X-ray with my lunch because on too many occasions to mention I have had my lunch with my X-rays.


One Response to “Quinism (and Lunch)”

  1. leecleland May 5, 2016 at 7:13 pm #

    A true radiologist, and I’ll bet sometimes the lunch wasn’t as nice as the one today 🙂 A great image and glad you found Q.

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