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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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Happy New Year 2018!

The staff at Clinical Anatomy Associates, Inc. wishes a Happy and Prosperous New Year 2018 to the readers, subscribers, contributors, and friends of Medical Terminology Daily.

This year we are looking at bringing in new contributors, new articles, and updating our website to help our visitors even more

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2018!!


Andreas Vesalius Bruxellensis

On December 31st, 2017 we celebrate Andreas Vesalius' 503rd birthday...
His teachings and presence inspire us to continue our quest for knowledge, as his motto states:
"Vivitur Ingenio, Cætera Mortis Erunt"


This article is part of the series "A Moment in History" where we honor those who have contributed to the growth of medical knowledge in the areas of anatomy, medicine, surgery, and medical research.To search all the articles in this series, click here.

Andreas Vesalius Bruxellensis (1514- 1564). A Flemish anatomist and surgeon, Andreas Vesalius was born on December 31, 1514 in Brussels, Belgium. He is considered to be the father of the science of Anatomy. Up until his studies and publications human anatomy studies consisted only on the confirmation of the old doctrines of Galen of Pergamon (129AD - 200AD). Anatomy professors would read to the students from Galen's work and a demonstrator would point in a body to the area being described, if a body was used at all. The reasoning was that there was no need to dissect since all that was needed to know was already written in Galen's books. Vesalius, Fallopius, and others started the change by describing what they actually saw in a dissection as opposed to what was supposed to be there. 

Vesalius had a notorious career, both as an anatomist and as a surgeon. His revolutionary book "De Humani Corporis Fabrica: Libri Septem" was published in May 26, 1543. One of the most famous anatomical images is his plate 22 of the book, called sometimes "The Hamlet". You can see this image if you hover over Vesalius' only known portrait which accompanies this article. Sir William Osler said of this book "... it is the greatest book ever printed, from which modern medicine dates" 

After the original 1543 printing, the Fabrica was reprinted in 1555. It was re-reprinted and translated in many languages, although many of these printings were low-quality copies with no respect for copyright or authorship.

Andreas Vesalius Bruxellensis
The story of the wood blocks with the carved images used for the original printing extends into the 20th century. In 1934 these original wood blocks were used to print 617 copies of the book "Iconaes Anatomica". This book is rare and no more can be printed because, sadly, during a 1943 WWII bombing raid over Munich all the wood blocks were burnt.

One interesting aspect of the book was the landscape panorama in some of his most famous woodcuts which was only "discovered" until 1903.

Vesalius was controversial in life and he still is in death. We know that he died on his way back from a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, but how he died, and exactly where he died is lost in controversy. We do know he was alive when he set foot on the port of Zakynthos in the island of the same name in Greece. He is said to have suddenly collapsed and die at the gates of the city, presumably as a consequence of scurvy. Records show that he was interred in the cemetery of the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, but the city and the church were destroyed by an earthquake and Vesalius' grave lost to history. Modern researchers are looking into finding the lost grave and have identified the location of the cemetery. This story has not ended yet.

For a detailed biography of Andreas Vesalius CLICK HERE.

Personal note: To commemorate Andrea Vesalius' 500th birthday in 2014, there were many scientific meetings throughout the world, one of them was the "Vesalius Continuum" anatomical meeting on the island of Zakynthos, Greece on September 4-8, 2014. This is the island where Vesalius died in 1564. I had the opportunity to attend and there are several articles in this website on the presence of Andreas Vesalius on Zakynthos island. During 2015 I also attended a symposium on "Vesalius and the Invention of the Modern Body" at the St. Louis University. At this symposium I had the honor of meeting of Drs. Garrison and Hast, authors of the "New Fabrica". For other articles on Andreas Vesalius, click hereDr. Miranda


Snowman sign

The “snowman sign” is a particular image on a chest X-Ray image, which is seen in anomalous pulmonary venous drainage and coarctation of the aorta which causes a Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return (TAPVR).

This abnormality occurs when the pulmonary veins fail to drain into the left atrium and instead form an aberrant connection with some others cardiovascular structures. Such abnormalities account for approximately 2% of cardiac malformations.

There are four types of TAPVR; type 1 is the most common (and the one that creates the sonowman sign). In this case the pulmonary veins terminate at the supracardiac level, emptying into the right atrium by way of an anomalous pulmonary venous drainage into the superior vena cava (SVC), and the left brachiocephalic vein (by way of a vertical vein). The confluence of these veins dilates the right brachiocephalic vein, which appears as a dilated vessel on the right of the upper mediastinal edge. When seen in an AP Chest X-Ray, the TAPVAR type 1, resembles a snowman; the dilated vertical vein on the left, the right brachiocephalic vein superiorly, and the SVC on the right form the head of the snowman, the body is formed by the enlarged right atrium.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Joyous New Year 2018!!!

Article written by: Prof. Claudio R. Molina, MsC

Snowman sign
Snowman sign.
Click on the image for a larger depiction

Sources:
1. Emma C. Ferguson, Rajesh Krishnamurthy, and Sandra A. A. Oldham. (2007) Classic Imaging Signs of Congenital Cardiovascular Abnormalities. RadioGraphics 27:5, 1323-1334.
2. Somerville, J., & Grech, V. (2009). The chest x-ray in congenital heart disease 1. Total anomalous pulmonary venous drainage and coarctation of the aorta. Images in Paediatric Cardiology, 11(1), 7–9.


Kabourophobia

Kabourophobia is the fear of crabs and lobsters.

The etymology of the word [kabourophobia] comes from the Greek word [καβουρης] (pronounced “kavouris”), meaning [crab], and the suffix [-phobia], also from the Greek, arises from the word [φοβία] (pronounced “fovía”)

Kabourophobia is an extremely rare phobia, but it was brought to the public’s attention when a modern pop singer stated that she was afraid of crabs. Also, a prank (maybe acted) was shown on video on the internet with a man surrounded by lobsters.

Kabourophobia is very specific, and it can also be a part of a wider phobia called ostraconophobia, which is the fear of crustaceans, adding shrimp, oysters, clams, crabs, lobsters, etc.

 Liocarcinus vernalis © Hans Hillewaert  via Wikimedia Commons

Click on the image for a larger version. 

An interesting point is that the word [crab] in Greek has another acception, that is the word [Καρκίνος] (pronounced “karkinos”), which is the root for the medical term [cancer].

We thank Jackie Miranda-Klein for her contribution suggesting this word. Please consider contributing to Jackie's medical mission to Belize by "clicking here".


Sympathetic / parasympathetic

The word sympathetic is the adjectival form of sympathy. This word arises from the Greek [συμπάθεια]and is composed of [syn/sym] meaning “together” and [pathos], a word which has been used to mean “disease”. In reality “pathos” has to do more with the “feeling of self”. Based on this, the word sympathy means “together in feeling”, which is what we use today.

How the term got to be used to denote a component of the so-called autonomic nervous system is part of the history of Medicine and Anatomy.

Galen of Pergamon (129AD-200AD), whose teachings on Medicine and Anatomy lasted as indisputable for almost 1,500 years, postulated that nerves were hollow and allowed for “animal spirits” to travel between organs and allowed the coordinated action of one with the other, in “sympathy” with one another. As the knowledge of the components of the nervous system grew, this concept of “sympathy” stayed, becoming a staple of early physiological theories on the action of the nervous system.

Jacobus Benignus Winslow (1669-1760) named three “sympathetic nerves” one of them was the facial nerve (the small sympathetic), the other the vagus nerve, which he called the “middle sympathetic”, and the last was what was known then as the “intercostalis nerve of Willis” or “large sympathetic", today’s sympathetic chain. Other nerves that worked coordinated with this “sympathetics” were considered to work in parallel with it. It is from this concept that the term “parasympathetic” arises.

Galen of Pergamum
Galen of Pergamon 
(129AD - 200AD)

 

Interestingly, the ganglia on the sympathetic chain were for years known as “small brains” and it was postulated that there was a separate multi-brain system coordinating the action of the thoracic and abdominopelvic viscera. The coordination between this “autonomous nervous system” and the rest of the body was made by way of the white and gray rami communicantes.

Today we know that there is only one brain and only one nervous system with an autonomic component which has a “sympathetic” component that is mostly in charge of the “fight or flight” reaction and a “parasympathetic” component that has a “slow down” or “depressor” function. Both work coordinated, so I guess Galen was not "off the mark" after all.

So, we still use the terms “sympathetic” and “parasympathetic”, but the origin of these terms has been blurred by history.

Sources:
1. "Claudius Galenus of Pergamum: Surgeon of Gladiators. Father of Experimental Physiology" Toledo-Pereyra, LH; Journal of Investigative Surgery, 15:299-301, 2002
2. "The Origin of Medical Terms" Skinner, HA 1970 Hafner Publishing Co.
3. "Medical Meanings:A Glossary of Word Origins" Haubrish, WS American College of Physicians Philadelphia, 1997
4. "The History of the Discovery of the Vegetative (Autonomic) Nervous System" Ackerknecht, EH Medical History, 1974 Vol 18. 
Original image courtesy of Images from the History of Medicine at nih.gov

Note: The links to Google Translate include an icon that will allow you to hear the pronunciation of the word.


Epistaxis

The medical term [epistaxis] refers to a “nose bleed”.

It is considered to be a Modern Latin term that originates from the Greek word [επίσταξη(epístaxí). The word is composed of [επί] [epi-] meaning "on", "upon", or "above", and [στάζει] (stázei), meaning "in drops", "dripping".

The term was first used by Hippocrates, but only as [στάζει] , to denote dripping of the nose, and was later changed to [επίσταξηto denote “dripping upon”. The term itself does not include or denote that the blood loss is from the nose, but its meaning has been implied and accepted for centuries. The plural form for epistaxis is epistaxes.

Skinner (1970) says that the term was first used in English in a letter by Thomas Beddoes (1760-1808) in a letter to Robert W. Darwin (1766-1848) in 1793. Robert Darwin was an English physician, father or Charles Darwin (1809-1882) author of “The Origin of the Species”.

Sources:
1. "The Origin of Medical Terms" Skinner, HA 1970 Hafner Publishing Co.
2. "Medical Meanings - A Glossary of Word Origins" Haubrich, WD. ACP Philadelphia 

Note: The links to Google Translate include an icon that will allow you to hear the pronunciation of the word.