How the *# am I going to remember that!?

Since I’m probably not the only person out there who has trouble memorizing trivia that (at the time anyway) seems pointless, shall we share our mneumonics and various other learning tools?

Crudeness is OK (not that any medical students would ever utilize anything vaguely crass!).

Take care,

Great idea, Jeff! <thank you, Jeff>

Here’s an immunology one I just came up with:


Killer T cells (KILL) recognize endogenous cells that have been taken over by invading critters (TRAITORS), like viruses, and presented their nasty antigens via MHC Type I (FIRST).

Helper T cells (HELP) recognize exogenous cells, like bacteria, that have been phagocytized (taken PRISONER) and had their antigens presented via MHC Type II (SECOND).

Anway, it works for me. :)

Take care,

I have found (this is most likely a quirk in my personality) that if I can make it humorous or into a numeric function that I can recall it better.

For example - Huntington’s Chorea: 4 hunters were pissing and dancing in the woods and they died. Huntington’s Chorea is genetic d/o subsequent to an alteration (extended triplet repeat) in the ‘p’ arm of the 4th chromosome resulting in choreaform movement and eventual death. It is a sick but humorous dittie and it stuck. Manyof my study groups other mnemonics tended toward the risque and will therefore not be placed here – you heard that Gadgetman (he’s an OPM’er and a member of my study group at KCOM)!!!

Another thing I do – make it into a numeric function. I’m one of those weird folks where things involving numbers stick – I can still recall my phone number that I had from age 3 ~ 10! 501-753-3736. This is how I recall the vit K dependent clotting factors – factors II, VII, IX & X ----> 2 + 7 = 9 and I just tack 10 onto the end & that little mnemonic just triggers the memory that prot c & s are also vit K dependent.

Weird, but they work!

Hey, Jeff, help is on the way. A third year med student here at Texas Tech has written two books titled visual mnemonics in both pharmacology and microbiology. Her name is Laurie Marbus and if you do a search on Amazon you will find them.


I found the pharm book, but the micro book is not ready yet. Dr. Pelley, can you give us an example what is included in this book?

I’m going to try and imbed some scans that I took from both books for those who haven’t been able to look at them on the shelves. The micro version can’t be far behind, by the way, since they take the author’s copies off of the same run that goes out to bookstores.

In general the books are study aids. They contain no text, other than the lists that correlate with the visual images. Each image is matched on a facing page with the related lists plus space for notes.

I can’t seem to get a jpg inserted here, so I’ve created a link at my SuccessTypes web site. The menu on the left has a link to Visual Mnemonics.

my best,