Medical Terminology Daily (MTD) is a blog sponsored by Clinical Anatomy Associates, Inc. as a service to the medical community, medical students, and the medical industry. We post anatomical, medical or surgical terms, their meaning and usage, as well as biographical notes on anatomists, surgeons, and researchers through the ages. Be warned that some of the images used depict human anatomical specimens.

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A Moment in History 

Martin Naboth, title page of De Sterelitate Mulierum 

Martin Naboth
(1675 – 1721)

Not much is known about this German physician and anatomist. He was born in 1675 in Calau, a town in Southern Brandenburg, Germany. He studied medicine at the University in Leipzig, receiving his doctorate in Philosophy in 1701 and his MD in 1703. Although his interests were based in chemistry, Naboth became an avid anatomist, with interest in the anatomy of the female reproductive system.

His main publication in 1707 was “De Sterilitate Mulierum” (On Sterility in Women). In this book he refers to small pearl-like transparent structures found in the uterine cervix. Believing that he had discovered the way women store eggs, he called these “ovarium novum” (new ovaries). His discovery was accepted by many and these structures came to be known as “Ovula Nabothii “. Only later were to understand these structures as cysts created by clogging of the opening of the glands found around the uterine cervix. These mucus-producing glands are known as the [cervical glands] and also as Nabothian glands. These cysts, which are common and do not represent a sign of cervical cancer, are known today as Nabothian cysts.

Naboth had only rediscovered these cysts first described in 1681 by Guillaume des Noues (1650 – 1735), although the eponym records Naboth’s name.

Naboth died in Leipzig in 1721 leaving a large anatomical collection. We have not been able to find an image of Naboth, so we are depicting the title page of his 1707 “De Sterilitate Mulierum”. If you click on the image you can see a larger depiction.

1. “Histoire de la M?decine, depuis son origine jusqu'au dix-neuvi?me si?cle” A. J. L. Jourdan ; E. F. M. Bosquillon  1815
2. “The Origin of Medical Terms” Skinner HA 1970 Hafner Publishing Co.

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William Harvey

This article is part of the series "A Moment in History" where we honor those who have contributed to the growth of medical knowledge in the areas of anatomy, medicine, surgery, and medical research.To search all the articles in this series, click here.

William Harvey (1578 - 1609) English physician, physiologist, and anatomist. He was born in Folklestone, where his  father was the mayor.

Harvey studied at the King’s College in Canterbury, after which he entered Cambridge. He later traveled through France and Italy and continued his studies in Padua, where he graduated with an MD in 1602. He later returned to Cambridge to complete his Doctoral studies.

He became the Physician-In-Charge at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital.  It was at this time that he started a long process of scientific observation and logical reasoning that led him to postulate the circulation of the blood in his 1628 publication  "Excercitatio Anatomica de Motu Cordis et Sanguinis in Animalibus"  (Anatomical Exercises on the Movement of the Heart and the Blood in Animals).

Harvey’s publication caused incredible controversy, as his proposed theory went against Galen’s theories and the idea that blood passed through "invisible pores" from the right to the left atrium of the heart. His main problem was that he could not prove the presence of capillaries, which were not observed until Antoine van Leeuwenhoek invented the microscope in the late 1600's.

William Harvey
In his book Harvey states ''It is absolutely necessary to conclude that the blood in the animal body is impelled as in a circle and is in a state of ceaseless motion: that this is the act or function which the heart performs by means of the pulse, and that it is the sole and only end of the motion and contraction of the heart”. Even today there are many that use the term “circulatory system” without realizing that the meaning “as in a circle” coined by William Harvey is present in it.

Although the first to consider the term “circulation” was Michael Servetus (1511 – 1553), his ideas were not completely evolved. Had he completed his research and studies Servetus could have precluded Harvey, but he was considered a heretic and burnt at the stake. Thankfully, Harvey was not!  

1. "William Harvey"Billimoria, A.  J Assoc Phys 60 (2012) 57
2.  “William Harvey” Foucar, HO. Can Med Assoc J 1951; 64(5): 452–453.
3. “William Harvey” McKecnie, EDJ, Robertson, C.  Resuscitation 55 (2002) 133-136
4. “William Harvey, an Aristotelian anatomist” Fara, P. Endeavour 21:2 (2007) 43–44
5. “The life and work of William Harvey” Keele, KD Endeavour 2:3 (1978) 104–107
Original image courtesy of: nlm.nih.gov