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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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Arterial circle of Willis

UPDATED: The arterial "circle of Willis" is a roundabout of arteries found at the base of the brain, allowing for collateral circulation at this level. This arterial circle has been described by many anatomists, but it was Thomas Willis (1621 - 1675) who described it in most detail, and he was the first to understand its function.

The circle of Willis receives blood from the two main paired arteries that provide blood supply to the head and brain: the carotid arteries anteriorly, and the vertebral arteries posteriorly.

This arterial circle is formed by the anastomosis of several arteries, paired and unpaired:

Anterior cerebral arteries: These paired arteries are one of the terminal branches of the internal carotid arteries. They provide blood supply to the medial aspect and part of the lateral aspect of frontal and parietal lobes of the brain

• Anterior communicating artery: A single unpaired small artery communicating both anterior cerebral arteries and providing potential collateral circulation between them

• Internal carotid arteries: These two bilateral arteries are one of the branches of the carotid artery found at the root of the neck. Its two main terminal branches are the anterior cerebral arteries and the middle cerebral arteries

Arterial circle of Willis (en.wiklipedia,org)
Image courtesy of www.wikipedia.org 

• Posterior cerebral arteries: These two arteries are formed by the bifurcation of the basilar artery, which itself is formed by the junction of the right and left vertebral arteries. The posterior cerebral arteries provide blood supply to the occipital lobe and part of the temporal lobe of the brain

Posterior communicating arteries: These paired arteries provide communication between the carotid and vertebral arterial territories 

Middle cerebral arteries: Although not technically part of the arterial circle of Willis, these paired arteries are one of the two terminal branches of the internal carotid arteries. The middle cerebral artery travels deep in the lateral sulcus (Sylvian fissure) of the brain and provides blood supply to the lateral aspect of the brain including the frontal, parietal, occipital, temporal, and insular lobes

The arterial circle of Willis provides all of the arterial blood to the brain. Cerebral blood flow in humans averages 55 mL per 100 g of brain tissue per minute. This is a about over 742.5 mL/min for the average 1350 g brain. Depending on the situation the brain will use between 15 to 20 percent of the total cardiac output, although by weight the brain is only about two to three percent of the average body weight. Incredibly, the brain uses more oxygen that most organs averaging close to 25% of the total oxygen needs of the body!

The importance of the arterial circle of Willis is that beyond this point the arterial supply to the brain becomes terminal, that is, there are little or no anastomoses between the bifurcating branches exposing the brain to ischemia and necrosis should there be an arterial stenosis or stricture. The circle of Willis is an area prone to aneurysms, with over 27,000 cases yearly in the US.

For an image of the vascular territories of the brain, click here.

Clinical anatomy, pathology, and surgery of the brain and spinal cord are some of the lecture topics developed and delivered by Clinical Anatomy Associates, Inc.

Thanks to Jackie Miranda-Klein for making me review this post and update it!... and congratulations to Jackie for starting her Physician Assistant Master's degree at Kettering College. Dr. Miranda.