Test Your Medical Term IQ!

Saturday, May 15, 2010 | 0 comments »

By Daniel V. Donatelli

It's funny how doctors have a way of saying things that are completely foreign to the rest of us. We say "tomato"; they say "Lycopersicom esculentum." It can lead to a lot of misunderstandings, so it's best to be on top of your medical game when discussing things with your doctor. Match the following technical diagnoses with their more common names.
  1. Myocardial infarction—Heart attack. Heart attacks are no laughing matter. Myocardial infarctions, however, are hilarious. The other day at the gym, this dude staggered up to me and said, "I think I'm having a myocardial infarction." I said to him, "Don't let your wife find out."
  2. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis—Lou Gehrig's Disease. Lou Gehrig considered himself "the luckiest man on the face of the earth." He must have had a different definition of luck than most people. Being a legendary athlete diagnosed with a pernicious degenerative neurological disorder in your thirties—a disease that makes you eventually die of suffocation because your musculature atrophies to the point you can't even muster the strength to breathe—is some of the worst luck I've ever heard of. And I'm from Cleveland!
  3. Androgenic alopecia—Male-pattern baldness. Speaking of bad luck, I started developing "androgenic alopecia" when I was 16 years old. Consequently, I started noticing some things (when I wasn't crying). For instance, I've noticed that bald white men in the movies and on TV are only allowed to play certain characters: villains, incompetent villain lackeys, angry police officers, creepy guys, and Kojak.
  4. Monochromatism—Color blindness. My roommate is color-blind, and he argues he should qualify for handicapped parking. Funny stuff, but I still feel bad for him. If I couldn't see the difference between green and red, I'd never forgive myself.
  5. Varicella—Chicken pox. Chicken pox is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which I believe is also the scientific term for "cooties." And according to the latest studies, the only cure for cooties is to find the disease carrier at recess and rub mud in his or her hair.