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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 post anatomical, medical or surgical terms, their 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 

Martin Naboth, title page of De Sterelitate Mulierum 

Martin Naboth
(1675 – 1721)

Not much is known about this German physician and anatomist. He was born in 1675 in Calau, a town in Southern Brandenburg, Germany. He studied medicine at the University in Leipzig, receiving his doctorate in Philosophy in 1701 and his MD in 1703. Although his interests were based in chemistry, Naboth became an avid anatomist, with interest in the anatomy of the female reproductive system.

His main publication in 1707 was “De Sterilitate Mulierum” (On Sterility in Women). In this book he refers to small pearl-like transparent structures found in the uterine cervix. Believing that he had discovered the way women store eggs, he called these “ovarium novum” (new ovaries). His discovery was accepted by many and these structures came to be known as “Ovula Nabothii “. Only later were to understand these structures as cysts created by clogging of the opening of the glands found around the uterine cervix. These mucus-producing glands are known as the [cervical glands] and also as Nabothian glands. These cysts, which are common and do not represent a sign of cervical cancer, are known today as Nabothian cysts.

Naboth had only rediscovered these cysts first described in 1681 by Guillaume des Noues (1650 – 1735), although the eponym records Naboth’s name.

Naboth died in Leipzig in 1721 leaving a large anatomical collection. We have not been able to find an image of Naboth, so we are depicting the title page of his 1707 “De Sterilitate Mulierum”. If you click on the image you can see a larger depiction.

Sources
1. “Histoire de la M?decine, depuis son origine jusqu'au dix-neuvi?me si?cle” A. J. L. Jourdan ; E. F. M. Bosquillon  1815
2. “The Origin of Medical Terms” Skinner HA 1970 Hafner Publishing Co.


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“The King’s Anatomist” – The Journey of Andreas Vesalius

“In 1565 Brussels, the reclusive mathematician Jan van den Bossche receives shattering news that his lifelong friend, the renowned and controversial anatomist Andreas Vesalius, has died on the Greek island of Zante (today’s Zakynthos) returning from a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Jan decides to journey to his friend’s grave to offer his last goodbye…” Thus begins the saga and the book the “King’s Anatomist”.

In June 2022 during the annual American Association of Clinical Anatomists (AACA) meeting in Fort Worth, TX, I was lucky to bid and win this, one of the latest books on Andreas Vesalius. This book, written by Ron Blumenfeld, MD. proved to be not only a great read, but also an quite historically accurate story. Let me explain this statement.

The book belongs to the genre of Historical Fiction, where the author does detailed research on a topic and then writes on accurate background but adds fictional characters and situations. Sometimes, as in this book, it follows a mystery that slowly unravels leading to shocking situations. To be fair, the author does explain what is not necessarily quite historically accurate, so as to leave no doubt about what is real or not.

The book is enthralling, the plot well developed, and the description of the academic environment, the details of the scenery for the travelers, the pettiness of war, etc., is not only interesting, but also portrays the times during the life of Andreas Vesalius in such a way that I felt transported there. It was very difficult to put the book down until I finished it.

 The King's Anatomist - Book by Ron Blumenfeld MD
The King's Anatomist - Book Cover
Click on the image for a larger version

Ron does a great job getting us a little bit closer to who was Andreas Vesalius, the child at school, the youngster, the anatomist, the friend, the father, and the husband.

I should probably stop here and let you decide on the book for yourself without giving too much away. I strongly recommend this book and hope that you will enjoy it as much as I did. You can visit Ron’s website here to buy his book.

On a side note, Ron and I both attended the 2014 “Vesalius Continuum” meeting in the Greek island of Zakynthos. This meeting celebrated the 500th anniversary of the birth of Andreas Vesalius. Part of the book he wrote is based on the discussions and presentations at this meeting.

Following are some excerpts of Ron’s bio and website in his own words:

“I’m a native New Yorker, pediatrician and health care executive who reunited with his inner writer in retirement. I surrendered the pleasure of writing columns on various topics for my local newspaper in Connecticut to focus on my debut novel, The King’s Anatomist”

“There always was a writer cooped up inside me, but he got loose only after I retired. I had permitted him to show up only in school classes, health and business writing, and newspaper columns, but I realize now that I kept him on a short leash because I was afraid of him – afraid of his disruptive potential and afraid of what he would look like to the world. But at this point in my life, I got past those excuses and let him out to see what he could do.

The King’s Anatomist, it turned out, was an ideal writing project, anchored in facts, but with ample room for creativity. Thank you, Andreas Vesalius, for being such an interesting guy.”

Thank you, Ron, for signing and dedicating my personal copy of your book. It will have a nice place in my library. Dr. Miranda.

Should you want to look for more information on Andreas Vesalius in this website click here.