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Hypochondriac's Guide

In scientific literature, hyperthymesia is better known as highly superior autobiographical memory or HSAM, which pretty much describes what the condition is: the ability to accurately recall an abnormally large number of life experiences in vivid detail.

It's very rare, with only 60 or so diagnosed cases known. Remembering everything seems like it might be useful, but persons with HSAM say the constant, irrepressible stream of memories disrupts ordinary life and is mentally exhausting.


"The only weapon with which the unconscious patient can immediately retaliate upon the incompetent surgeon is the hemorrhage." -- American surgeon William Stewart Halsted (1852-1922). Halsted is considered a surgical pioneer, an early champion of using anesthesia during procedures

Medical History


This week in 1997, Hong Kong began killing its entire chicken population of up to 1.4 million birds to stem the spread of a mysterious avian flu that had already killed four people. The Hong Kong government decision came after birds at two sites were found to be infected with the H5N1 virus. Birds at the territory's 200 chicken and mixed poultry farms were placed in sealed containers and gassed. Owners of close to 1,000 provision shops and market stalls were ordered to kill their stock. The disinfected carcasses were sealed in plastic bags and buried at six landfill sites. The government compensated those whose stock was destroyed.

Perishable Publications

Many, if not most, published research papers have titles that defy comprehension. They use specialized jargon, complex words and opaque phrases like "nonlinear dynamics." Sometimes they don't, yet they're still hard to figure out. Here's an actual title of an actual published research study: "A 'Rose Is a Rose Is a Rose Is a Rose,' But Exactly What Is a Gastric Adenocarcinoma?"

This guest editorial in the Journal of Surgical Oncology in 1998 was actually addressing a topic of robust medical debate, from which many opinions, uh, arose. One thing is for certain: A gastric adenocarcinoma is not a flower. It's a form of stomach cancer.


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