Saturday, 13 December 2008

Mnemonic Chess - CHESS - Narcolepsy Clinical Features

I'm so tired of falling asleep all the time (Good Article)
© Daily Mail

"Narcolepsy is a chronic sleep disorder that disrupts your normal sleeping pattern. It can cause you to fall asleep suddenly, and without warning (known as 'sleep attacks') and also tends to make you feel excessively drowsy during the day time."

Copyright © the College of Family Physicians of Canada

This CHESS mnemonic is helpful for remembering the features of narcolepsy:
  • C - Cataplexy
  • H - Hypnagogic hallucinations
  • E - Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • S - Sleep attacks
  • S - Sleep paralysis
From Dr Neil M. Skjodt, MD FRCPC DABSM FAASM (link)
Approach to outpatient management of adult sleep apnea [title]
Can Fam Physician. 2008 October; 54(10): 1408–1412.

Question: Does the condition narcolepsy have any relevance to the playing of chess?

Answer: Quite possibly, as one of the most effective treatments for narcolepsy is a drug called modafinil (Provigil). Modafinil, a wakefulness promoting agent, may potentially be a performance enhancing drug for chess players. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), recognising the potential performance-enhancing benefits of the drug, added modafinil to the list of prohibited substances just prior to the 2004 Athens Olympics.

Narcolepsy can also be found in animals. For people not familiar with this condition the following YouTube videos are interesting.

Skeeter the Narcoleptic Poodle:

Rusty the Narcoleptic Dog:

Narcoleptic-Cataplectic Fainting Goats:

Political Chess - Michael Adams at Gordon Brown Organised Event (London)

The Prime Minister's Office recently invited sports stars, music stars and community leaders to an event to highlight the UK government's progress on fighting knife crime. A short clip of the meeting was shown on the BBC News At Ten. Grandmaster Michael Adams appears to have been one of the invited guests. It is good to see the UK's highest rated player (Elo 2734) recognised outside of the chess world.

I wonder in what capacity Michael Adams was invited to the event?

If he was invited as a sports star then that is very interesting. There has been alot of debate about whether chess is a sport or purely a game. Individual countries answer this question differently, and some have even voted chess players as sportsperson of the year - ie Vishy Anand in India and Anatoly Karpov in the Soviet Union. The recent issues around drug testing at the Dresden Chess Olympiad have also reignited the debate about whether chess is a sport. The Wikipedia description of sport is also quite illuminating:
"Sport is activity that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often engaged in competitively. Sports commonly refer to activities where the physical capabilities of the competitor are the sole or primary determiner of the outcome (winning or losing), but the term is also used to include activities such as mind sports (a common name for some card games and board games with little to no element of chance) and motor sports where mental acuity or equipment quality are major factors. Sport is commonly defined as an organized, competitive and skillful physical activity requiring commitment and fair play. Sports differ from games based on levels of organization and profit (not always monetary). Accurate records are kept and updated, while failures and accomplishments are widely announced in sport news."
Below are some of the shots from the event showing Michael Adams and Prime Minister Gordon Brown.