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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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Pascale Pollier

Pascale Pollier is a sculptor/artist who is interested in the melding of art and science. A Belgian National, she studied fine art and Painting in St Lucas art school in Ghent, Belgium and subsequently postgraduate training with the Medical Artists Association, London UK.

She was president and co-founder of BIOMAB (Biological and Medical Art in Belgium) . In 2010 the international collaboration program "Art Researches Science" was created, organizing exhibitions, dissection drawing classes, collaborative art/science projects, symposiums and conferences. The International collaboration partners are: Universities of Antwerp, London, Dundee, Strasbourg and New York.

Pascale Pollier

Pascale is also an external examiner for the medical art course at The Centre for Anatomy & Human Identification, University of Dundee. She is President of the AEIMS (Association Europeenes des lllustrateurs  Medicaux et Scientifiques). She works and lives in London as an artist. You can visit her website "artem medicalis" here.

Her art can be best expressed in the words of Jac Scott in his book "Language of Mixed-Media Sculpture": "Pascalle Pollier creates poetic 3D renditions of anatomically referenced 'body maps' that celebrate human life and death. The immediacy of the subject matter and her ability to capture realism provoke reactions from quietly unsettling to outrage. Her work is not for the faint-hearted - its honesty in its clear intent confronts all who gaze at the wonder of the human form in its various states of undress - shedding clothes or skin.... Pollier approaches form a medical science perspective". For images of her work, visit MEDinART.

Her nationality and studies guided her to Andreas Vesalius and with Theo Dirix and other collaborators Pascale was instrumental in the realization of the 2014 Vesalius Continuum meeting on the island of Zakynthos, Greece.

Thanks to her vision and collaborative work, now there is a new bronze sculpture on the island celebrating the famous Flemish (Belgian) anatomist. She is also deeply involved in the quest to find Vesalius' grave on the island. To this effect, and based on the few images we have of Andreas Vesalius, Pascale created a reverse-engineered bust of Vesalius which depicts what his skull might look like. Several bronze copies of this piece of art are today in exhibits in libraries and museums around the world. To fund the on-going research to find Vesalius' grave, Pascale is offering five wax copies of the bust for sale.

Thanks to Pascale Pollier for collaborating with "Medical Terminology Daily" with the article "In Search of Andreas Vesalius, The Quest for the Lost Grave - The Sequel" which she co-authored with Theo Dirix and Dr. Sylviane Déderix.

Wax bust of Andreas Vesalius by Pascale Pollier
Wax bust of Andreas Vesalius by Pascale Pollier.
Click on the image for a larger depiction