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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

Antoine Louis
(1723–1792)

French surgeon, anatomist, and physiologist. Following his medical studies and a long career as a physiologist, Antoine Louis was named Permanent Secretary of the Royal French Academy of Surgery. His other titles were those of Professor of the Royal Academy, Consultant Surgeon of the Armies of the King, member of the Royal Society of Sciences of Montpellier, Inspector of the Royal Military Hospitals, and Doctor in Law of the University of Paris. As a member of these academies Louis was instrumental in the design and construction of the guillotine. Initially called the "Louisette", this device was later named after another French physician in the same committee, Dr. Joseph-Ignace Guillotin.

Antoine Louis' name is better know to history as the eponymic origin of the "sternal angle" also know as the "Angle of Louis" and synonymously (probably by misspelling or translation) the "angle of Lewis", and "angle of Ludwig". This anatomical landmark is extremely important as it serves as a superficial landmark for important anatomical occurrences (click here).

As a point of controversy, there are some that contest the history of this eponym adjudicating it to Pierre Charles Alexander Louis (1787-1872), another French physician dedicated to the study of tuberculosis.

Sources:
1. Srickland, N; Strickland A Angle of Louis, More Than Meets the Eye. MedTalks:
2. Ramana, R. K., Sanagala, T. and Lichtenberg, R. (2006), A New Angle on the Angle of Louis. Congestive Heart Failure, 12: 197–199
3
. "The origin of Medical Terms" Skinner, HA; 1970


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Viscus / Viscera / Visceral

UPDATED: The Latin word [viscus] refers to an "internal organ". A better definition is that a [viscus] is a "single internal organ contained in a body cavity". Since there are three body cavities: craniospinal, thoracic, and abdominopelvic, each one of the organs in these cavities can be called a [viscus].

The plural form of [viscus] is [viscera]. It is a common mistake to use the plural form instead of the singular form when referring to a viscus. The sentence "the stomach is an abdominal viscera" is wrong. The correct sentence would be "the stomach is an abdominal viscus".

The adjective form [visceral] means "related to", or "pertaining to" a viscus or viscera.

The term [visceral] is also used to denote membranes that are related to a viscus. The [visceral] peritoneum is the portion of the peritoneal membrane that is found away from the abdominal wall and in relation to a viscus or viscera.

Original image and links courtesy of bartleby.com