We haven't seen our girl Amy Winehouse in a while, but, check it out: She's alive! And looking pretty good. Although a few things did catch our eye... First: There's something on her neck! And knowing Amy, it could be something serious. We were forced to turn to, you guessed it, the WebMD Symptom Checker. After the jump, see a larger picture and our completely misinformed diagnosis.

[London, October 3. Image via Bauer-Griffin.]

So yes, her neck! Bruising or discoloration is the first choice in a short list. It could be a bruise, but what is thrombocytopenia? Because that sounds sooo much better!

Essential thrombocytopenia is a rare blood disease characterized by reduced levels of platelets in the circulating blood.


Ooh, that's much more exciting. We were referred to rarediseases.org but couldn't find any causes, so we wound up on Wikipedia. Causes of thrombocytopenia include:


  • Vitamin B12 deficiency (do you think Amy takes vitamins?)
  • Decreased production of thrombopoietin by the liver in liver failure. (Do you think Amy's liver is ok?)
  • Dengue fever (Amy was in the tropics recently!)

Alright, it's probably just a hickey, but you can never be too careful. Let's address the second problem, shall we? Amy's hair. It's... discolored. Very confusing. The symptom checker doesn't have any answers, it only covers hair loss. So we had to google "hair discoloration." Guess what? Protein-energy malnutrition (PEM) is a potentially fatal body-depletion disorder. People who have a form of PEM called kwashiorkor:

often have extremely thin arms and legs, but liver enlargement and ascites (abnormal accumulation of fluid) can distend the abdomen and disguise weight loss. Hair may turn red or yellow.


Oh no! What is the treatment?

Tube feeding or intravenous feeding is used to supply nutrients to patients who can't or won't eat protein-rich foods.


Amy, please take some vitamins and eat something!

Health A To Z