WikiJournal of Medicine/Table of pediatric medical conditions and findings named after foods

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Note: This is an appendix to a peer-reviewed article.[1] Included in the table are medical terms that have analogies related to food and drink (and also related to items involved in the preparation or consumption of food and drink).


Table 1 | ‘Cherry picked’ food-related medical metaphors in Pediatrics.

Analogy Brief description
Blueberry muffin baby/rash/syndrome Blue purpura, petechiae or other skin findings akin to blueberries on a muffin, caused by cutaneous extramedullary hematopoiesis secondary to congenital infections, certain cancers or hematologic abnormalities.[2]
Bread and butter appearance Layers of pericardium resembling bread and intervening fibrin resembling butter, found in cases of fibrinous pericarditis and sometimes rheumatic fever.[3]
Cabbage-like odor, Rancid butter odor[note 1] Urinary odor like that of cabbages due to an increase in urinary 2-hydroxybutyric acid in fumarylacetoacetate hydrolase, also known as tyrosinemia type 1; also associated with methionine malabsorption (see Oasthouse syndrome in this table); body odor of rancid butter caused by an increased production of 2-oxo-4-methiolbutyric acid in tyrosinemia type 1.[4]
Carrot-shaped nuclei Carrot-like microscopic appearance of nuclei in medulloblastoma, the most common malignant childhood brain tumor.[5]
Celery stalk appearance Alternating bands of lucent and sclerotic metaphyseal bone of the femur and tibia on X-ray, causing these bones to appear like celery stalks, seen in patients with congenital rubella and other conditions.[6]
Cheesy odor[note 1] Breath and body fluids odor caused by an accumulation of isovaleric acid in children with isovaleric acidemia, due to the deficiency of isovaleryl-CoA dehydrogenase.[7]
Cherry red epiglottis Red, swollen epiglottis and adjacent tissues resembling a red cherry upon visualization by laryngoscopy, secondary to Haemophilus influenzae type b and other bacterial infections.[8]
Cherry-red spot[note 1] Red, cherry-like appearance of the vascular choroid under the macula on an otherwise lipid-laden, whitened retina, seen on fundoscopic exam in disorders of lipid metabolism such as Tay-Sachs disease, Sandhoff's disease and Sialidosis; can also be seen with other eye disorders including central retinal artery occlusion.[9]
Cottage-loaf sign Chest X-ray appearance similar to a cottage loaf in patients with total anomalous pulmonary venous connection/drainage/return; also known as the ‘snow man’ sign or ‘figure of 8’ sign.[10]
Cracked-pot sign Sound obtained upon percussing the head of an infant affected by hydrocephalus, similar to the sound obtained when striking a cracked pot.[11]
Dish-face anomaly Congenital midface hypoplasia resulting in flattened, dish-like features, seen in Larsen syndrome,[12] and in Binder syndrome (maxillonasal dysplasia).[13]
Doughnut sign, Sandwich sign Doughnut shape created by the hyperechoic central core of bowel and mesentery surrounded by the hypoechoic outer edematous bowel, seen on transverse sonography or computed tomography in intussusception, also known as the target sign; on longitudinal imaging intussusception resembles a sandwich.[14]
Egg on a string sign Cardio-mediastinal silhouette in which the enlarged heart represents an egg on its side and the narrowed, atrophic thymus of the superior mediastinum represents the string, seen on chest X-ray in transposition of the great arteries/vessels.[15]
Fish odor syndrome[note 1] Body odor of rotten fish secondary to an accumulation of trimethylamine in flavin-containing monooxygenase 2 deficiency.[16]
Honey-colored crusts Description of the crusts the color of honey overlying healing blisters in cases of impetigo, a superficial skin infection caused by Staphylococcus aureus or Streptococcus pyogenes.[17]
Hot cross bun head/skull  Rare radiographic manifestation in which the skull resembles a hot cross bun due to abnormal bone deposition in the frontal and parietal regions in congenital syphilis.[18]
Ice cream sliding off the cone Hip X-ray appearance in slipped capital femoral epiphysis in which the separation of the epiphysis from the rest of the femur appears similar to ice cream sliding off the cone.[19]
Maple syrup urine disease[note 1] Caramel-like urinary odor similar to the smell of maple syrup caused by the accumulation of sotolone (4,5-dimethyl-3-hydroxy-2[5H]-furanone) in individuals with branched-chain alpha-keto acid dehydrogenase complex deficiency.[20]
Mulberry molars Abnormally increased number of cusps in the first permanent molars in congenital syphilis; normal molars have four cusps.[21]
Oasthouse syndrome[note 1] Urine odor of an oasthouse, a building used for drying hops, caused by the increased conversion of methionine into butyric acid and other compounds in disorders of methionine metabolism.[22]
Olive-shaped mass Palpable abdominal mass the shape of an olive found in infants with hypertrophic pyloric stenosis (HPS); usually found in conjunction with other hallmark HPS features including male preponderance, projectile vomiting with a good appetite, visible peristalsis after feeds and hypochloremic, hypokalemic metabolic alkalosis.[23]
Onion skin reaction Periosteal reaction resulting in the layering of periosteum similar to the layering of onion skin, seen on X-ray in Ewing sarcoma and sometimes in osteomyelitis or osteosarcoma.[24]
Pancake brain Resemblance of the brain to a pancake due to the fusion and expansion of the ventricles seen on pathologic and radiographic examination, caused by the failure of the prosencephalon (forebrain) to separate during fetal development in alobar holoprosencephaly.[25]
Pea soup stool Description of meconium, which resembles pea soup in appearance and consistency; typhoid can also cause stool to resemble pea soup.[26]
Port-wine stains Also known as nevus flammeus, birthmarks or skin patches the color of port wine (red, pink, or purple) typically affecting the face and neck, caused by malformed capillaries in syndromes such as Sturge-Weber, linked to somatic mutation in the gene GNAQ (Guanine nucleotide-binding protein G(q) subunit alpha).[27]
Potato chip scales Weeping, crusted scales typically on the face that resemble potato chips in staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome.[28]
Prune belly syndrome Wrinkled abdominal skin similar to the wrinkles of a prune secondary to the absence of abdominal musculature; also known by various eponyms and characterized by urogenital abnormalities.[29]
Red-currant jelly stool Stool consisting of blood admixed with mucus which resembles red currant jelly and can occur in cases of intussusception, dysentery or other diseases.[30]
Rotten eggs odor[note 1] Urine odor of rotten eggs due to an increase in sulfur-containing cystine in cystinuria, a cystine reabsorption defect.[31]
Salmon patches Retinal hemorrhage the color of salmon flesh visualized on fundoscopy, one of many manifestations of sickle cell retinopathy;[32] also used to describe the pink-red ‘stork bite’ of the nape of the neck, the most common vascular malformation in infancy caused by malformed dermal capillaries.[33]
Salt-pepper retinopathy Focal areas of increased and decreased pigmentation resembling salt and pepper, seen on fundoscopy in rubella retinopathy, congenital syphilis or other congenital infections.[34]
Salt grains Also known as Koplik spots, lesions that resemble grains of white or blue salt splattered on a red buccal mucosa in measles.[35]
Sausage-shaped mass Right upper quadrant or epigastric mass that feels like a sausage on abdominal palpation in some patients with intussusception, also visible on computed tomography scan.[36]
Strawberry hemangioma  Also known as a capillary hemangioma, a benign red-blue tumor of blood vessels resembling a ripe strawberry which regress by age 10; now recognized to be immunoreactive for GLUT1 (eythrocyte-type glucose transporter protein 1).[37],[38]
Strawberry tongue, Raspberry tongue Bright red tongue with prominent papillae similar in appearance to a strawberry or raspberry, found in diseases likely mediated by superantigens including toxic shock syndrome (Staphylococcus aureus toxin), scarlet fever (Streptococcus pyogenes toxin) and Kawasaki disease (a type of vasculitis involving medium-sized arteries).[39],[40]
Sunflower cataracts[note 1] Sunflower appearance of the lens of the eye caused by copper deposition in Wilson’s disease, a disorder of copper metabolism.[41]
Tumbler test aka glass test Controversial clinical sign elicited when a transparent tumbler is pressed against a skin rash, positive for meningococcemia if the rash does not blanch.[42]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 The underlying disease is usually inherited in an autosomal recessive manner.

Some cutaneous food-related medical terms may not be applicable in those with pigmented skin


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