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

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.

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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Deltoid muscle

The deltoid or deltoideus (Latin) is a large, thick, triangular muscle, which covers the glenohumeral joint anteriorly, superiorly, and posteriorly.  It can be described as having three components or segments, anterior, middle, and posterior. The anterior portion originates from the lateral third of the clavicle, on the clavicle’s superior border. The middle portion originates from the lateral border of the scapula’s acromion, and the posterior portion originates from the spine of the scapula. All three portions insert laterally by means of a thick tendon on the deltoid tuberosity of the humerus. At its insertion the muscle gives off an thick connective tissue expansion to the deep fascia of the arm.

The three portions of the deltoid muscle are usually well defined. As an anatomical variation, the clavicular or the acromial portion of the muscle may be absent.

This muscle is innervated by the axillary nerve (C5, C6), a branch of the brachial plexus, and supplied by the posterior circumflex humeral artery and the deltoid branch of the thoracoacromial artery.

The word deltoid is derivates from the Greek word [δελτοειδής] which is itself formed by the terms [δέλτα] (délta), referring to the triangular shape of the letter delta (uppercase Δ, lowercase δ or 𝛿) and [-οειδής] (-oeidís), a the Greek suffix meaning “similar to”. Delt-oid then would mean “similar to a Δ (delta)".

Deltoid muscle - Image modified from the original by Henry VanDyke Carter, MD. Public domain
Deltoid muscle.
Click on the image for a larger depiction 
1. “Gray’s Anatomy” Henry Gray, 1918
2. "Tratado de Anatomia Humana" Testut et Latarjet 8th Ed. 1931 Salvat Editores, Spain
3. "Gray's Anatomy" 38th British Ed. Churchill Livingstone 1995
4. “An Illustrated Atlas of the Skeletal Muscles” Bowden, B. 4th Ed. Morton Publishing. 2015

Image modified from the original by Henry VanDyke Carter, MD. Public domain