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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

Johann Gottfried Zinn

Johann Gottfried Zinn
(1727–1759)

Anatomist and botanist, Johann Gottfried Zinn was born on December 6, 1727 in the city of Ansbach, Germany. He started his medical studies in his native city, becoming later a student of Dr.  Albrecht von Hallers at the University of Göttingen, and received his MD in 1749.

He left for Berlin to continue his studies but came back shortly thereafter. He became a professor of anatomy at the University of Göttingen and in 1753 he also became the director of the botanical garden in the same city.

He is known for his anatomical treatise on the anatomy of the human eye: “Descriptio anatomica oculi humani iconibus illustrata”. Because of this, his name has become an eponym in the “Zonule of Zinn”, a ring of strands that forms a fibrous band connecting the ciliary body with the capsule of the lens of the eye. Zonule of Zinn is sometimes referred to as the suspensory ligaments of the lens, or the “ligament of Zinn”. His name is also attached to the anular ring tendon found in the posterior aspect of the eye, the "anular tendon of Zinn". This ring serves as attachment for all the extraocular muscles of the eye and the optic nerve passes through the center of the ring.

Carol Linné (Carolus Linneaus) named a genus of flowers in the family Asteraceae known vernacularly today as “Zinnia” in his honor. Hover your cursor over his portrait to see the flower.

The chapter on orbital anatomy of his anatomy book, taken from the second edition in 1780, has been translated and the first of three parts is published in an issue of “Strabismus”

His book "Catalogus Plantarum Horti Academici Et Agri" can be seen online here.

His life was short, dying at the early age of 32, but his name lives on in the name of a beautiful flower.

Sources:
1. “Johann Gottfried Zinn" Simonz, HJ Strabismus – 2004, Vol. 12, No. 2, p. 125 
2. "Anatomical Description of the Human Eye" Zinn, JG Strabismus, 13:45–52, 2005 
Images: Public Domain by Wikipedia Commons. 1. Own work I_am Jin, and H. Wilhem Dietz


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The Ephraim McDowell House and Museum (1)

In 2013 I wrote a short biography of Dr. Ephraim McDowell (1771- 1830) for the sidebar on this blog entitled “A Moment in History”. While researching the life of this illustrious surgeon I learned that his house is now a National Historic Landmark and has been transformed into a museum in the city of Danville, Kentucky. It took me almost four years but on Sunday February 19, 2017 I was able to go visit this place. Following is a series of articles and pictures of this visit.

The house itself was built in the 1790’s and most of it has been restored and lovingly maintained by the city, the Kentucky Medical Association, a Board of Directors, and a group of volunteers that work as docents giving tours of the house.

The following is an edited excerpt of Wikipedia on the McDowell House:

“After McDowell's death in 1830 the house was sold. It was the home of a Centre College president for a short time. Later the entire area became a slum and tenement property. The house deteriorated badly. Dr. August Schachner, of Louisville, led the efforts to buy the house for restoration. In 1921 he visited the house. "Since our last visit, the house has continued its downward course until it has reached a point where it now seems almost beyond redemption”. The room in the rear of the corresponding front room on the second floor,"(the operating room) "which is on a lower level by several feet, is used as a dump for the ashes from the grates of the rooms on the second floor."

The Kentucky Medical Association bought the house in 1935 and deeded it to the state of Kentucky, who had it restored by the Works Progress Administration (WPA). It was dedicated on May 20, 1939. In 1948, Kentucky returned the property to the Kentucky Medical Association.

The Kentucky Pharmaceutical Society restored the Apothecary Shop in the late 1950s with help from the Eli Lily Foundation. It was furnished by the Pfizer Laboratories. It was dedicated and presented to the Kentucky Medical Association on August 14, 1959.”

The house is located at 125 South Second Street, Danville, KY 40422. It is a white two-story wooden structure considered to be large for the time. To the right side stands a small one-story brick structure, the apothecary, where Dr. McDowell would provide medicine for his patients and others. To the left is the patio and garden where Dr. McDowell would grow medicinal plants for the apothecary. On the garden front there is a large two-sided plaque that reads:

Ephraim McDowell House

“Home of Ephraim McDowell, the “father of modern surgery.” Here on December 25, 1809 McDowell performed the first successful abdominal operation when he took a 22-pound ovarian cysts from Jane Todd Crawford of Green Co. With no anesthesia, she sang hymns during the operation. Crawford recovered in 25 days and lived until 1842”

The back side reads:

“Built in three stages. Brick ell, or single-story wing, built 1790s. McDowell purchased house in 1802 and added front clapboard section c.1804. Rear brick office and formal gardens added in 1820. House sold when McDowell dies in 1830. 1n 1930s, Ky. Med. Assoc. bought house; restored by WPA. House dedicated on May 20, 1939. Now a house museum”

Ephraim McDowell House and Museum
The Ephraim McDowell House and Museum

Visiting the Ephraim McDowell House and Museum Dr. Miranda in front of the Ephraim McDowell House

Front of the plaque at the Ephraim McDowell House Front of the plaque at the Ephraim McDowell House

Back of the plaque at the Ephraim McDowell House and Museum Back of the plaque at the Ephraim McDowell House

 This article continues here