The use of mnemonics has long been an aid for doctors and medical students in learning the long strings of complicated information needed to assess the patient before them. Thanks to Newfoundland physician Robert OConnor, many of these words and phrases have been collected on MedicalMnemonics.com.
For nonphysicians, these memory devicessuch as how Every little boy must pray identifies drugs used to treat an irregular heartbeat: epinephrine, lidocaine, bretylium, magsulfate and procainamidemay help bring more understanding when watching ER or other medical shows. Some may be useful in first-aid situations: TV SPARC CUBE can help identify the signs of shock: thirst, vomiting, sweating, pulse weak, anxious, respirations shallow/rapid, cool, cyanotic, unconscious, BP low and eyes blank.
Other phrases are, well, lets just say interesting, such as this one used to memorize the structures passing through the superior orbital fissure: Lazy French tarts lie naked in anticipation of sex, which is really just a good way to remember the lacrimal, frontal, trochlear, lateral, nasociliary, internal and abducens nerves, ophthalmic veins and sympathetic nerve.
And some seem rather logical, as in Randy Travis drinks cold beer, which, of course, is used to remember the brachial plexus subunits: roots, trunks, divisions, cords and branches. Mnemonics have existed almost as long as the medical knowledge itself, the Web site states. Many of these mnemonics float down from professors, demonstrators or other students.