I’m currently in the process of preparing for an OSCE exam I have on Monday. While reviewing the neurological exam, I remembered something I thought was a pretty nifty test for cranial nerves X (vagus), XII (hypoglossal), and VII (facial).
If you say the word “calamity” aloud while enunciating each syllable, you are invariably testing the motor function of cranial nerves 7, 10, and 12. Why is this? Let’s analyze each syllable. 🙂
The “kuh” sound produced by the first syllable tests your ability to elevate your palate (cranial nerve X’s job) independently of your tongue and lips. Asking a patient to repeat “kuh-kuh-kuh-kuh-kuh” in rapid succession is the bedside test. Next, the “la” syllable (as in singing “la-la-la-la-la”) involves using one’s tongue (testing cranial nerve XII). Finally, the third syllable, “mi” (“mi-mi-mi-mi-mi”) requires one to use his or her lips (testing cranial nerve VII’s ability to innervate muscles like orbicularis oris).
While I don’t actually utilize the aforementioned tests in the neurological exam, I thought it was pretty cool. Then again, neuro exams are always interesting. 😉