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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 will post a workweek daily medical or surgical term, its 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

Giovanni Batista Morgagni
Original image courtesy of National Institutes of Health

Giovanni Battista Morgagni

(1682 - 1771)

Italian anatomist, physician, and pathologist, Morgagni was born in the city of Forli. He started his medical studies at the University of Bologna, graduating in 1701 with a degree in Medicine and Philosophy. In 1712 he became a professor of anatomy at the University of Padua, Italy, 175 years after Andreas Vesalius. Morgagni was offered and accepted the Chair of Anatomy in 1715 at the University of Padua. Although Morgagni held a position at the anatomy department of the University of Padua, his name is associated mostly with his pathological studies.

Morgagni was interested in the works of Theophile Boneti (1620 - 1689), who started analyzing the correlation between post-mortem anatomical findings and diseases. He tried to establish a relation between the disease and the cause of death. In 1761 Morgagni published his most influential work "De Sedibus et Causis Morburum Per Anatomen Indagatis"  (On the Sites and Causes of Diseases, Investigated by Dissection). His work was essential for pathological anatomy to be recognized as a science in itself.

Morgagni was elected to become a member of several Academies of Science and Surgery: The Royal Society of London, The Academy of Science in Paris, The Berlin Academy of Science, and the Imperial Academy of Saint Petersburg in Russia. He is remembered today by several eponyms in anatomy and pathology:

• Morgagni's caruncle or lobe, referring to the miidle lobe of the prostate
• Morgagni's columns: the anal (or anorectal) colums
• Morgagni's concha, referring to the superior nasal concha
• Morgagni's foramina: two hiatuses in the respiratory diaphragm allowing for passage of the superior epigastric vessels
 Morgagni's hernia: an hiatal hernia through Morgagni's foramen, in the respiratory diaphragm
• Morgagni's ventricle: an internal pouch or dilation between the true and false vocal cords in the larynx
• Morgagni's nodules: the nodules at the point of coaptation of the leaflets (cusps) of the pulmonary valve. Erroneously called the "nodules of Arantius", which are only found in the aortic valve

Sources:
1. "A Note From History:The First Printed Case Reports of Cancer" Hadju, S.I. Cancer 2010;116:2493–8
2. "Giovanni Battista Morgagni" Klotz, O. Can Med Assoc J 1932 27:3 298-303
3. "Morgagni (1682 -1771)" JAMA 1964 187:12 948-950

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Larynx

The term [larynx] originates from the Greek [λάρυγξ] meaning "upper windpipe or throat". Known vernacularly as "Adam's apple" or the "voice box" (not proper clinical terms), the larynx is the organ of phonation, and one of the organs found in the cervical visceral compartment. It is found immediately superior to the trachea, and anterior to the pharynx and esophagus.

It is formed by nine cartilages, three of which are median and single (epiglottis, thyroid, and cricoid cartilages), the rest being paired (arytenoid, corniculate, and cuneiform cartilages). In the accompanying image, the thyroid cartilage is depicted in blue, and the cricoid cartilage in green.

Within the larynx is a pair of musculomembranous folds, the vocal cords, which are innervated by the recurrent laryngeal nerves, branches of the Xth cranial nerve, also known as the vagus nerve. 

The thyroid gland (in purple) is related to the inferior aspect of the larynx. The gland receives its name from the thyroid cartilage of the larynx, as the Greek term [θυροειδής] (thyreoeidís) means "in the shape of an oblong-shield".

It was Andrea Vesalius who named the cricoid cartilage because of its shape. The Greek term [κρικοειδή] (krikoeidí) refers to a structure "shaped like a ring". The cricoid cartilage is a complete ring, and thus is different from the incomplete or "C" shaped rings of the trachea.

Image property of CAA Inc. Artist: Dr. Miranda

Cervical viscera