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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

Thomas Willis, MD
Thomas Willis
(1621-1675)

An English physician and anatomist, Willis was born on his parents' farm in Great Bedwyn, Wiltshire, where his father held the stewardship of the Manor. He was a kinsman of the Willys baronets of Fen Ditton, Cambridgeshire. He graduated M.A. from Christ Church, Oxford in 1642. In the Civil War years he was a royalist, and was dispossessed of the family farm at North Hinksey by Parliamentary forces. In the 1640's Willis was one of the royal physicians to Charles I of England. He obtained his medical degree in 1646.

Thomas Willis might well be one of the greatest physicians of the 17th century.He is one of the founders of the Royal Society of London. He is remembered by his many publications, especially "Cerebri Anatome: Cui accessit Nervorum Descriptio et Usu", where he describes the arterial anastomoses at the base of the brain. This work is also the first detailed description of the vasculature of the brain. Willis described nine cranial nerves.

He is considered as the father of Neurology as a discipline. He used the term "neurology" for the first time in 1664. He described several neurological conditions

The Arterial Circle of Willis is a famous eponymous structure found at the base of the brain. It represents an anastomotic roundabout that connects the right and left sides as well as the carotid and vertebral arterial territories that supply the brain. Named after Thomas Willis, this structure was known well before him, but it was Willis who described its function.  If you click on the image or here, you will be redirected to a detailed description of this structure.

Sources:

1. "The legendary contributions of Thomas Willis (1621-1675): the arterial circle and beyond" Rengachary SS et al J Neurosurg. 2008 Oct;109(4):765-75
2. "Thomas Willis, a pioneer in translational research in anatomy (on the 350th anniversary of Cerebri anatome)" Arraez-AybarJournal of Anatomy, 03/2015, Volume 226, Issue 3
3. " The naming of the cranial nerves: A historical review" Davis, M Clinical Anatomy, 01/2014, Volume 27, Issue 1
4. "Observations on the history of the circle of Willis". Meyer A, Hieros, R.Med Hist 6:119–130, 1962


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Open letter to the reluctant scientist and the Vesalius groupie


The following is an article published by Theo Dirix in his blog. He is one of the Vesalius Continuum project members and a contributor to this website. Theo Dirixis an author and a taphophile. He has successively held the office of Consul in Embassies of Belgium in Tanzania, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Canada, the United Arab Emirates and, since 2011, Greece. His current posting is in Kopenhagen, Denmark  Before 1989, he worked for the Flemish Radio 3 and commented on (mainly Moroccan) literature. He is constantly writing travel stories of his visits to cemeteries and graves. He is also the author of the book "In Search of Andreas Vesalius: The Quest for the Lost Grave".


“Andreas Vesalius is a rock star in well defined circles”, a friend wrote to me in an e-mail and: ”I hate disappointing people".  That is to say with the results of the upcoming crucial phase in the search for his lost grave in Zakynthos, Greece. I guess she considers all 800 friends of my Vesalius Continuum Page as members of those "well defined circles". Let me assure her, and all of you, Vesalius groupies, that nobody will be disappointed.

Potential sponsors definitely won’t. They just have to ask Agfa HealthCare Greece, that has financed the Geographical Information System of the first phase. With the amount paid, a company cannot even buy a single add in a newspaper; Agfa got dozens of adds instead, during our talks, in publications and in this paragraph.​

Neither will Vesalius groupies, even after a generous contribution to the crowd funding campaign. Beyond the pleasure of discovering a geophysical prospection, they can bid on the miniature facial reconstruction we will present here soon. Or on paintings of skulls, cells and blood; one of my mentors is already labeling his acrylic studies we will auction soon.

And finally, no scientist will. Of course, there are some who will grin if we find ... nothing, but they seem to forget that a non-discovery can be as important as a find. Many more, however, continue to encourage us. They know funerary slabs have already been found under the corner house of Kolyva/Kolokotroni in the city center, where we concentrate our search. I’ll never forget the reaction of an archaeologist when I showed her the pictures of those artefacts in Pavlos Plessas’s blog.

 

dirix

From pampalaia.blogspot.dk/2012/08/blog-post.html I quote:

"How many excavations would you say have taken place at this site, which could, and should, have been the focus of a universal cultural pilgrimage? As far as I know none! Unless of course the dynamites and the bulldozers that after the catastrophic earth-quakes of 1953 demolished any wall left standing and pushed it into the sea can be thought of as an archaeological dig." ​

Back to our plans: a team of four or five researchers will walk through that part of the town with a Ground Penetrating Radar device. They will drill small holes (of about one cm in diameter and twenty cm in depth) in the asphalt roads, pavements and surroundings to enter electrodes and carry out the Electrical Resistivity Tomography. To get permits for making the holes, have plans of any utility networks and carry out the fieldwork, this geophysical prospection will take five days maximum. After processing the survey, the research center IMS/FORTH, Rethymnon, will come up with a map of underground architectural remains.

How exiting is that? I'm looking forward to receiving your comments. Are you ready to register, to pledge your support ?

Personal note: Click on the following link to collaborate with this incredible quest. I already did. Dr. Miranda


GoFundMe Campaign for the next stage of the project