Livin' on the MDedge

Texting a stroke, game-show grants, and, um, The Beast


Autocorrect, or worse?

Is it just fat thumbs, or something more serious? Incoherent text messages could be the first sign of a stroke for adults, as displayed in two case reports presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology.

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Researchers have dubbed this problem “dystextia,” a new stroke warning sign for our digital age. If someone you know is making more typos than usual in a text, give them a friendly call. It could be that they are experiencing a stroke … or it could be that they just recently updated their phone and don’t know how to turn off that newfangled predictive text.

It makes sense that stroke can cause dystextia: Typing on a phone involves some fine motor, language, and vision skills. Stroke can affect all these functions, leading to bizarre typos or angry political rants on Facebook.

Just kidding; those are equally as concerning but require a whole different diagnosis.

‘Research Funds’ for $11,000, Alex

In the universal struggle for research funding, many a scientist has resorted to desperate measures to keep the lab assistants paid, the JAX Mice fed, and the frontiers of medical science expanding ever outward.

Now, one savvy Argentinian oncology researcher has found a novel funding source for her fellow grant-impaired investigators: game shows.

Marina Simian is a biologist for Argentina’s National Scientific and Technical Research Council. She runs a research lab focused on oncology treatments for breast cancer. Faced with a national economic crisis and cuts to research funding, Simian says government funding has nearly dried up. Where did she turn instead?

Enter the local version of the TV game show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” Simian went on the show as a contestant, explaining that she needed money to support her cancer research. And when the camera cut away to commercials, Simian walked away with 500,000 pesos ($11,000) in winnings. Which she used to buy more lab supplies.

Admittedly, the “Slumdog Millionaire” approach may not save every cash-strapped scientist’s pet project, but it does give us an idea for game show super champ James Holzhauer’s career when he finally wears out his “Jeopardy!” buzzer: medical research funding consultant.


The LOTME staff had a meeting the other day with our editor (we think he might be the love child of Lois Lane and Ron Burgundy), who said that lately we’ve been “too juvenile” and “not medical enough” and told us to get our “dirty little minds out of the gutter.”

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After we stopped crying, he offered up this item from the Food and Drug Administration:

“STIFF BOY LLC. Issues Voluntary Nationwide Recall of THE BEAST Capsules Due to Presence of Undeclared Sildenafil” (no, we did not add the all-caps).

Okay, here goes.

THE BEAST was marketed as a dietary supplement for “male enhancement” (add nonjuvenile but hilarious remark about tumescence), which would not be regulated by the FDA. The presence of Viagra’s active ingredient in the capsules, however, “renders it an unapproved drug for which safety and efficacy have not been established and, therefore, subject to recall,” the FDA said (insert comment about seemingly serious but totally fictitious side effects).

Although the sildenafil in THE BEAST may interact with nitrates found in some prescription drugs, STIFF BOY said that it had not received any reports of adverse events before the recall (imagine a guy working on the engine of his pickup truck).

Seek immediate medical attention if your laughter lasts for more than 4 hours after reading this.

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