Tuesday, November 07, 2006

And The Correct Answer is... Unknown

Have you ever come across a question where "unknown" is the correct answer?

I had my first and only one today, in the first paper of my final exams (Control Systems, Growth and Development):

What is the commonest cause of male infertility?
A. Bilateral Vas Deferens absence
B. Coital Disorder
C. Unknown
D. Lifestyle factors such as smoking, drinking etc.
E. Varicocele
Hah, another "birdy" question from our lovely lecturers, as usual... I wasn't sure about the answer in the exam hall, but luckily I guessed it correctly. For the record, the fact is about half of the male infertility has an unknown cause.

Update 07/11/06: The answer "unknown" is given by Harrison's Internal Medicine which gives the percentage at 50%. However, some other sources give the answer as "varicocele". I haven't done a thorough research so I make no guarantee to the accuracy of the claim above.

So now you know... if you happen to be a guy and can't get a child after trying for one year, after ruling out problems in your wife, chances are the doctor can't provide an exact diagnosis of your problem. And he can only say "Let's go home and pray that you will get your baby eventually", or "Start thinking about adoption / sperm donation."

Oh ya, and this is what miss "anonymous" has to say about the question.
Don't think that "unknown" means that we have one less fact to learn, it just means that we have no means of targeting treatment...

All hail to medical course.

p/s 08/11/06: Oh ya, for the record, I received the notification about my Advanced Medical Science unit selection today. For your information, AMS is our research year done in year 3.5 to 4.5, which translates to July 2007 to May 2008. I am so glad to be offered my first choice, Anaesthesia department in Royal Melbourne Hospital! I am already looking forward to the AMS year, and hope that it will be a marvellous experience for me.


Melissa said...

is that really the answer? ah..... i got it wrong then..i was thinking between c & d.. but i chose d in the end

youngyew said...

Haha I am not exactly sure, but from what I gathered online and some PBL notes, this seems to be the case... I might be wrong though (which means this entire post is wrong) :(

Ka Lip said...

STRESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS....CY... u very free ya...haha, let's remember the questions for PBL exam.. each of us remember one question, and we can have a post-exam online discussion...


Anonymous said...


It's also my first time seeing "Unknown" as an answer, hahaha!

And congrats about the AMS thing. ;)

Melissa said...

oh..so they said we should get it latest by 7th, but there are still ppl who get it later? i havent gotten any notification yet..until now.. mayb i'm rejected eheh

youngyew said...

Ka Lip: Haha, no lar, I don't go and remember questions, it's just that the questions is so birdy so it naturally stuck to my head... Don't stress don't stress, everyone feels the same way.

day-dreamer: Hey thanks!

Melissa: I am not sure worr.. Try to check your email account's spam folder and see if it's there... There may be some technical errors there.

Chan Wen said...

We were told its unknown too. Congratulations and best of lucj for AMS.

Jiko said...

Congrats! =D

And no kidding about ngiau question, haha.

Kenta said...

Holy MAMA !!!

Is this the first time your prof gave you such a "birdy" Q&A ??

Anyway , congrates on getting your offer to that hospital. On my last trip to Melbourne, I noticed that hospital. It's a pretty nice one, hope you enjoy your time there. :)

purplerabbit said...

hey youngyew!

Did you have subjects such as logics, research, ebm, pbl, cal, research, first aid and empathy in your first sem?

I'm highly suspicious that our syllabus here imitates those of yours in melb uni...

anyway, congrats for ur ams thingy. we had a batch of seniors who completed it and graduation for them was held last month here in our uni. your vice-dean was present too i think.

anyway c ya!