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http://medicalmnemonics4u.blogspot.com | Dr. Shajil | 1st Edition


Nobody has super memory. In the course of education, there would have been many instances where
you find memorizing things difficult. Some people develop liking for a subject, which they remember
better. Some revise a lot. Some develop their own techniques to remember - MNEMONICS is one such

There are a lot of enemies against your MEMORY - stress, anxiety, lack of sleep, nutritional deficiencies,
full stomach, hypoglycemia and many more. Even if eliminated everything, sometimes you will end up
not remembering the name of third generation Cephalosporins or you get CONFUSED with similar things
or facts.

When I joined medical school it was very difficult for me to remember the vast amount of new names,
facts and the confusion level was also very high. Thanks to the efforts put from various quarters, I
overcame everything right from my first year to Post graduation. I thought that I share with you the
mnemonics I gathered over these years and which I am still making.

The site http://medicalmnemonics4u.blogspot.com is specially dedicated to the medical student who

works a lot, burns midnight oil and still has confusion or could not recall names.

However, it must be remembered that mnemonics should only be a stepping stone on the ladder to
knowledge and not a weapon to destroy the true logic of events. In other words, it's not a by hearting
tool. Too much of mnemonics is also bad. Only accept what is suitable for you, because you may be
having your own logic to remember things. I hope this book and website benefits all doctors of today
and tomorrow.

Dr. Shajil

Picture Mnemonic - Causes of Polyneuropathy

Causes of Polyneuropathy are marked in red. Read the story behind the picture shown:
The hero Mr. Guillain Barre is Diabetic (Remember D.D.D - Diabetes, Diptheria,
Dapsone). He is researching on AIP (Acute intermittent porphyria). Mr. GB is a Christian
(vinCRISTINe)- note him wearing a cross).
His CAR is parked outside (CARbon tetrachloride & CARcinoma).
Note the things in his room - Fan (PHENytoin), a big mosquito out to suck blood
(Represents Chloroquine). On his table is a glass of water - it contains Arsenic.
His Daughter (represents Hereditary cause), in a night dress, stained with ANILINE
DYE, is bringing something from the kitchen in a pan of LEAD. The poor girl has been
suffering from HYPOTHYROIDISM for quite a few years. Mr GB is so busy with his
research that doesnot have time to eat and has developed Nutritional Deficiency.

The Cephalosporins

First Generation Cephahlosporins - Remember this story:

Mr. Fazol (ceFAZOLin) is a Lorry Driver (cephaLORIdine). He works very hard and has
become Thin (cephaloTHIN) He has a "Rad" Watch on his hand (cephRADine) and a
"Lux" soap (cephaLEXin). He wears a bright green Drawer {i.e trousers} ( cefaDROxil)
Route of drug administration: He will put the Lux soap in his Drawer - (Cefalexin &
Cefradine are given orally. The latter can also be given i.v. /.i.m.. All others- i.v. /.i.m)

Second Generation Cephalosporins: Remember FOX, FUR, FAC ceFOXitin, ceFURoxime, ceFAClor

Third Generation Cephalosporins - The story goes thus:

Mr. Aziz (ceftAZIdime) is taking an Ox (ceftizOXime, cefpodOXime) in a Taxi

(cefoTAXIme) for slaughtering, i.e. an Operation (cefOPERAZONE). For this purpose
he is taking Three Axon blades (cefTRIAXONe). He will Fix (ceFIXime) the ox for dinner
(cefDINIR) in a short time!
Route of drug administration: Fix the price and eat (only Cefixime is given oral: all
others im/iv).
ADRs: Operation will cause bleeding (Cefoperazone cause bleeding)

Fourth Generation Cephalosporins:

My wierd dream: QUEEN of ROME who FLEW to OZONE layer, fell down and was
made IP (Inpatient) by ME. Helps you to remember fourth generation cephalosporins Cefquinome, Cefpirome, Cefluprenam, Cefozopran, Cefipime.

Microbiology - Special Stains

You know Gram stain is for Bacteria, Acid Fast for Mycobacterium (also Nocardia).
Remember other special stains below:

Giemsa : CAmpylobacter, Malaria, Leishmaniasis (CAMeL) (Remember the picture of

Giemsa Camel above)

Silver stain : pNEumocystis (CARnii), FUNgi, LEGionella (Remember the picture above
: it's a SILVER NEW CAR with FUNny LEGs)
MuciCaRmine - CRyptococci
Periodic Acid Schiff: FUNgi, amoeba (A FUNny amoeba just PASsed away)

Ricketsial diseases and causitive organisms

Ricketsial POX : R. AKArI (see the picture above - AKAI)

ePidemic typhus : R. Prowazekii
Rocky mountain spotted fever : R. Riketssi
Q - Fever : COXiella BURNetti ( Imagine Camel & OX walking in a queue i.e. "Q" in a
BURNing desert)
Srub typhus : R. TSUTSUgamushi (Imagine the sound while scrubbing - TSU TSU TSU
TSUgamushi; alternatively remember only SUsugamushi, with "t" silent for ScrUb)

Anatomy of Thoracic duct

Thoracic duct lies between Azygous vein and Oesophagous

Remember: The DUCK is between two gooses (duck = thoracic duct) 2 gooses =
azyGOOSE and esophaGOOSE (see picture)

Ewings tumor

The above picture gives mnemonic for Ewing's tumor. First let us analyse the picture.
Note the chick and swelling of Diaphysis of Tibia with the onion. Chick says VAC VAC
VAC VACA, VAC VAC VAC AV / CV. The chick has fat and hence PAS stain positive.
Note the moon and star at the top, Radio streaming music and chick fluttering it's wings
up and down to the music as represented by 2 arrow marks at the left side. See the
melted snow below the bone and a blood vessel from the side ( left corner )
Now, this is what the picture says: Ewings - the chick with wings; Arises from Diaphysis,
most common bone is Tibia. Seen in children as represented by the chick. Onion
represents the onion peel appearance in X-rays. The wings going up and down ( arrows
) represent that the size of tumor increases and decreases ( H/O Exacerbations and
remissions ). The moon & star represents the clinical feature that pain is worse at night.
Radio represents that the tumor is extremely radiosensitive - therefore melts like snow.
Spread is by blood vessels and lymphatics. And what the chick says is the
chemotherapy regimen - VAC ( Vincristine, Adriamycin, Cyclophosphamide ), VACA (
VAC + Actinomycin ), AV alternating with CV.

Number of Bones

Total number of bones in human body = 206. ( See the picture - bon(e) looks
like 206 if altered as seen in the picture; Still you will have to use your
imagination a little )

Total no. of bones in Face = Fourteen

Sensory supply of C6

How do test the sensory supplied by C6? See the picture - it gives sensory supply of C6

First Rank ( Positive symptoms ) of Schizophrenia


Kawasaki's Disease

This visual mnemonic gives you the clinical features of Kawasaki disease. Imagine a
Child on Kawasaki bike with red lips, tongue, body rash with cervical lymphadenopathy
having a heart thrash ( Coronary aneurysm ) seeing a beautiful nurse who has the
treatment needed for him. Note that Kawasaki disease is C- ANCA +ve as painted on
the bike. The clinical features are depicted as a song, which you can try to sing in the
tune of Titanic's song, "my heart will go on...."


Mind maps help you to revise faster and memorise better

Mind maps are an effective way to revise and memorise faster. Above is an example of
medical mnemonics depicted in the form of mind map.
The following websites give you free medical mind maps:



Use high quality notebook. Use standard textbooks to make your own notes. Revise,
revise and revise the same notes. Make your own pictures. Use colours. You will
remember better.
The above colourful notes are taken from


Wegener's Granulomatosis

Wegener's granulomatosis affects the upper and lower respiratory tracts and the kidney.
As depicted in the visual mnemonic, URTI, LRTI, Epistaxis, Hemoptysis,
Glomerulonephritis are few of the manifestations of this disease. It is C-ANCA positive.
Treatment is with antibiotics, corticosteroid, Azathioprine, Cyclophosphamide etc.


Cole - Cecil Murmur

COLe-Cecil murmur is heard in Aortic Incompetence in AxIlla.

Remember AIshwarya RAI ( Miss world, 1994 ) likes Coco-COLa


Anatomical snuff box

To remember the structures of anatomical snuffbox, look at your right hand and extend
your thumb. You see three prominent tendons. The tendon in between is a brevis
tendon - Extensor policis brevis. The tendon that meets it from the extensor surface is
therefore extensor policis longus. The remaining tendon going in different direction of
Extensor Policis Brevis is Abductor Policis Longus. Note that the longus goes parallel
and brevis converges on both ends.


Fallot's Triad, Tetrad and Pentad

To remember the Fallots, read this story along with the picture mnemonic :


Characters in the story and what they represent:

Ant - ASD
Parrot - Pulmonary stenosis
Rabbit - Right Ventricular Hypertrophy ( RVH )
Owl - Overriding of Aorta
Vulture - VSD
'3' represents Fallot's Triad, '4' - Tetrology of Fallot, '5' - Fallot's Pentad
The story: The Ant, Parrot and Rabbit ( 3 ) were living happily. Vulture and Owl are
coming at 4 o'clock - an announcement informed them. The Ant was afraid that it would
be eaten and went away in fear. At 4 o'clock the Vulture and Owl came. So there was
the Owl, Vulture, Parrot and Rabbit ( 4 ) living together now. The newcomers came to
know about the Ant. They promised that they won't eat the ant. So the Ant came back
and all the 5 (Owl, Ant, Vulture, Parrot and Rabbit ) lived happily ever after.
Now, just substitute what the animals / insects / birds originally represent and you will
remember the Fallots.
Now, just substitute what the animals / insects / birds originally represent and you will
remember the Fallots.


Erb's and Klumpke's brachial palsies

Erb's - Upper trunk ( C5, C6 ) {See the picture mnemonic above - imagine the '6' to
resemble 'b' of erbs ; 's' resembles '5' }
Klumpke's - Lower Trunk ( C7, C8, T1 )
Remember 'E' comes before 'K' in alphabetical order, so Erb's is upper and Klumpke's
lower trunk.
Now Klumpke's start with C7. Note that K-L-U-M-P-K-E is 7 letters.


Milestones in Pediatrics

Child draws a circle at 3 years, cross at 4 years, square at 5 years and triangle at 6
I think that the visual mnemonic is self explanatory. Start from head ( Circle ), imagine
the ears to be '3'. Put them together and remember that child draws circle at 3 yrs. After
3, remember what the child draws at 4,5 and 6 yrs by coming down from the top of the
figure. After head, you see the cross necklace - at 4 yrs. Come down further, imagine
the body to be a square ( at 5 yrs ). The frock represents triangle which child draws at 6


Anti Tuberculous Drugs (ATT)

Remember the REP ( Medical representative ) offering you an iPod. Let us name him
as iREP ( REP offering iPod ). He tells you, " give me 5, 10, 15, 20 - 35 prescriptions to
get an iPod ".
Here's the interpretation:
iREPS stands for
i - INH - 5mg/kg
R - Rifampicin - 10mg/kg
E - Ethambutol - 15mg/kg
P - Pyrazinamide - 20-35mg/kg
S - Streptomycin - 20-35mg/kg
Their dosages per kg are 5, 10, 15, 20-35, 20 - 35 respectively.
Which of these are Bacterocidal?
Of these, the ones that RIPS bacteria are the R, I, P, S.
To remember certain striking side effects see below:
INH - I Have Neuritis
Rifampicin - Red man syndrome
Ethambutol - Eye affected ( Retrobulbar neuritis )
Streptomycin - Song is difficult to hear ( Oto toxicity)


Huntington's Chorea

Remember the story : A Korean (Chorean) hunter, HUNTING 4 CROws to DATE a

Now, here's the facts: Huntington's Chorea gene is on ChROmosome 4
Pathology is in CAUDATE (COW DATE) nucleus


Aortic regurgitation : Peripheral signs

This is a picture mnemonic which will help you remember the peripheral signs of Aortic
regurgitation (AR) which is much talked about in the clinics.


Carpal Tunnel

Remember the picture to memorise the structures passing through the carpal tunnel
and those passing superficial to it.

Structures passing through the carpal tunnel:

MediAN nerve (policeMAN) - Compression causes carpal tunnel syndrome

Flexor POLICis longus (POLICe jeep)
FDS, FDP (FD = Fixed Deposit in piggy bank)
Radial & ulnar Bursa (piggy Bank)

Structures passing superficial to carpal tunnel

PALMaris LONGus (LONG PALM tree)

Cutaneous branch of MediAN Nerve (boy = small MAN; Big policeMAN was MediAN
nerve, so small man represents cutaneous branch)
UlNar nerve (Umen = woman)
Cutaneous br. of UlNar nerve (small Umen = small woman = represented by girl in the


Learn microbiology through picture mnemonics

A must have book, Clinical Microbiology made ridiculously simple if you get confused
between Streptococcus, Staphylococcus etc etc. There a few unbeatable cartoons
which are picture mnemonics. Also has lots of Tables.
See the examples from Staphylococcus chapter. The cartoons depict Staphylococcus
as a warrior. Did you note the first picture? Well it depicts a staff (Staphylococcus) with
a CAT in front of them - Represents that staphylococcus is CATalase positive. The
other series of pictures depict it as a warrior with various virulence factors - Coagulase,
protein A, hyaluronidase, Leukocidin, Hemolysin etc.


DDH - Facts and associations

The picture mnemonic will give you facts and associations of Developmental Dysplasia
of Hip (DDH)



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