Cunningham Syndrome

If you love reading The Cunningham’s Manual Of Practical Anatomy, God save you.

If you don’t,

Welcome to the club. Feel free to have a drink.

If you have no idea about the book I am speaking of, hold on.
The Cunningham’s Manual is every medico’s nightmare. The peculiarity of this book is that it is un-understandable. Most of them who tried to interpret Cunningham have perished in the attempt (May their souls rest in peace. Amen.). Rest of them are either nuts or are Professors in Anatomy department.

Cunningham is known to have tortured medicos from times immemorial. He is the lone survivor in the dissection hall. His lesser known (and therefore, less toxic) counterparts – Chaurasia and Dutta were mercilessly thrown out through the window when they tried to enter the dissection hall. Ever since, medicos are striving to legalize the entry of Chaurasia to the dissection hall.

The fatal disease in which the patient has an irresistible urge to read Cunningham is called ‘Cunningham’s syndrome (CS)’. Such patients are referred to as Cunninghamists. They are normal individuals, except that they smell of formalin.

Cunningham’s syndrome is of two types: congenital and acquired.

(i) Congenital CS : These Cunninghamists are born with silver scalpels in their mouths. This syndrome is usually found in individuals who are genetically related to Henry Grey. They have an irresistible urge to dissect every corpse and have a continuous craving for gold medal in anatomy. Incidence is one in 200.

(ii) Acquired CS: Acquired syndrome is not evident until PG entrance. Once the victims crack the PG entrance and enter Anatomy department, they are forced to read Cunningham. Due to the constant, uniform and slow Cunningham poisoning, they become Cunninghamists. The striking features are gloved hands and presence of forceps in coat pockets.

Cunningham contains a neurotoxin called somnabulin, which when administered orally causes the paralysis of orbicularis oculi and the consequent drooping of eyelids. It is also known to cause sudden involuntary, jerky movements of the intrinsic muscles of the tongue when a question is asked by the Professor at the dissection hall. Further research on the toxic effects of Cunningham is still under progress.

The Cunningham’s Manual contains numerous diagrams, which are as abstract as Salvador Dali’s paintings. Medicos use these diagrams to scare those kids who refuse to eat their vegetables.

The Cunningham is also known to have caused ‘exam madness’, which is characterized by blah-blahing, unstoppable writing and excessive consumption of answer sheets.
Cunningham is lovingly (pun intended) called ‘Kannettan(കണ്ണേട്ടന്‍)’ by Malayali medicos. Medicos love Kannettan and Kannettan loves the medicos in return. They make such a happy couple (sarcasm intended).

P.S : Non-medicos may substitute the name of their most ‘horrible’ textbook with Cunningham.


13 thoughts on “Cunningham Syndrome

  1. nice post. I can totaly empathise, sympathise, undertsnad and relate to this post! 😛 We at IIT are no different from thses huge volumes that we are asked to learn and understand within a span of days. and the cunnighma equilavelnt in science is newton. He pushed his leg into every department- be it probability, calculus, heat, motion, chmistry and even psychology. I wonder if he did anythin else than studies. Sometimes i wish that he had sat under a coconut tree instead of apple tree.

  2. Came across your blog and though your article is a treat its obvious you haven read the book.:) as a patient with acquired CS and a lover of anatomy the book is mind numbingly brilliant. p.s. i am one of those teachers who do not allow chaurasia into the hall 🙂

  3. Our Anatomy Professor will not give us marks if we don't include Applied Anatomy points from Gray's Anatomy.But, that really helped us a lot in Second Year clinical postings !I am very proud to say that I was the student of the most senior Anatomy Professor in Tamilnadu !

  4. @ Adidas,(puzzled look) You, an anatomy teacher? (adrenaline shoots up) —Runs away—- :)Thanks for dropping by! I have read Cunningham, the initial few pages of every volume, and now I do not remember a word out of it! :(@ Soorya,Nice to know. Cunningham really helps you to have an in-depth knowledge of the subject, but I preferred the easier route by reading Chaurasia instead. 🙂

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