Monday, December 03, 2007

A brief history of French mothers and STDs

Here's a little story I heard from a friend that I found both interesting and educational. I cannot vouch for its veracity, but like Stephen Colbert, my gut says it's true.

Back in 18th century France, French mothers were very concerned about who their daughters consorted with. In order to save them from men of suspect character who may be intent upon sowing their wild oats, the mothers would warn their daughters to avoid men with bobbing heads. The question for modern day medical students is, why?

The answer? The bobbing head, also known as De Musset's sign, is a sign of severe aortic regurgitation caused by syphilitic aortitis. Had the daughters flaunted their mother's warnings and flirted with these loathsome Lotharios and perhaps gone in for the proverbial French kiss, they may have also noted a bobbing uvula, also known as Muller's sign.

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