Intended for healthcare professionals



BMJ 1999; 318 doi: (Published 06 February 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:408

The trouble with descriptive pathological terms like nutmeg liver, cauliflower ear, and leather bottle stomach is that different observers rarely agree on the likeness. Birdshot retinochoroidopathy, a rare posterior uveitis, was first reported in 1949 and has been likened to candle wax spots, salmon patches, grains of rice, and vitiligo (British Journal of Ophthalmology1999;83:241-9). The term currently in vogue was coined in 1980 because the fundus has “multiple small white spots that frequently have the pattern seen with birdshot in the scatter from a shotgun.”

Elite athletes are different from ordinary people in many ways, and their response to illness is no exception. A survey of competitive runners shows that they are more likely to be hypochondriacs, to reject psychological explanations for illness, and to deny the impact of life stresses on health than the rest of us (British Journal of Sports Medicine1999;33:19-21). The researchers speculate that sports therapists, who are often retired athletes, may share or even reinforce these attributes.

Hospital outbreaks of Legionnaire's disease are often linked to water systems that have been colonised by Legionella spp. An observant American researcher noticed that outbreaks were less likely in areas where …

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