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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 

Title page of Anathomia Corporis Humanis by Mondino de Luzzi. Image courtesy of the National Library of Medicine
Title page of "Anathomia Corporis Humanis" by Mondino de Luzzi

Alessandra Giliani

 
(1307 – 1326

Italian prosector and anatomist. Alessandra Giliani is the first woman to be on record as being an anatomist and prossector. She was born on 1307 in the town of Persiceto in northern Italy.

She was admitted to the University of Bologna circa 1323. Most probably she studied philosophy and the foundations of anatomy and medicine. She studied under Mondino de Luzzi (c.1270 – 1326), one of the most famous teachers at Bologna.

Giliani was the prosector for the dissections performed at the Bolognese “studium” in the Bologna School of Anatomy. She developed a technique (now lost to history) to highlight the vascular tree in a cadaver using fluid dyes which would harden without destroying them. Giliani would later paint these structures using a small brush. This technique allowed the students to see even small veins.

Giliani died at the age of 19 on March 26, 1326, the same year that her teacher Mondino de Luzzi died.  It is said that she was buried in front of the Madonna delle Lettere in the church of San Pietro e Marcellino at the Hospital of Santa Maria del Mareto in Florence by Otto Agenius Lustrulanus, another assistant to Modino de Luzzi.

Some ascribe to Agenius a love interest in Giliani because of the wording of the plaque that is translated as follows:

"In this urn enclosed are the ashes of the body of 
Alessandra Giliani, a maiden of Persiceto. 
Skillful with her brush in anatomical demonstrations 
And a disciple equaled by few, 
Of the most noted physician, Mondino de Luzzi, 
She awaits the resurrection. 
She lived 19 years: She died consumed by her labors 
March 26, in the year of grace 1326. 
Otto Agenius Lustrulanus, by her taking away 
Deprived of his better part, inconsolable for his companion, 
Choice and deservinging of the best from himself, 
Has erected this plaque"

Sir William Osler says of Alessandra Giliani “She died, consumed by her labors, at the early age of nineteen, and her monument is still to be seen”

The teaching of anatomy in the times of Mondino de Luzzi and Alessandra Giliani required the professor to be seated on a high chair or “cathedra” from whence he would read an anatomy book by Galen or another respected author while a prosector or “ostensor” would demonstrate the structures to the student. The professor would not consider coming down from the cathedra to discuss the anatomy shown. This was changed by Andreas Vesalius.

The image in this article is a close up of the title page of Mondino’s “Anothomia Corporis Humani” written in 1316, but published in 1478. Click on the image for a complete depiction of this title page. I would like to think that the individual doing the dissection looking up to the cathedra and Mondino de Luzzi is Alessandra Giliani… we will never know.

The life and death of Alessandra Giliani has been novelized in the fiction book “A Golden Web” by Barbara Quick.

Sources 
1. “Books of the Body: Anatomical Ritual and Renaissance Learning” Carlino, A. U Chicago Press, 1999 
2. “Encyclopedia of World Scientists” Oakes, EH. Infobase Publishing, 2002 
3. “The Biographical Dictionary of Women in Science”Harvey, J; Ogilvie, M. Vol1. Routledge 2000 
4. “The Evolution of Modern Medicine” Osler, W. Yale U Press 1921 
5. “The Mondino Myth” Pilcher, LS. 1906 
Original image courtesy of NLM
 


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Layers of the GI tract

The gastrointestinal (GI) tract is formed, with a few exceptions, by four concentric layers of tissue. These are, from deep to superficial, the mucosa, submucosa, muscular (or muscularis) and the serosa layers. This is the simplified version. The fact is that there are more sublayers.

The mucosa layer is characterized by the presence of intestinal villi, which in the stomach and small intestine contribute to absorption of the digested food. The mucosa has a thin layer of connective called the "lamina propia" and external to it a thin layer of smooth muscle, the muscularis mucosae.

Layers of the gastrointestinal tract
Images property of:CAA.Inc.Artist:Dr. E. Miranda
The submucosa layer is formed by irregular connective tissue and contains on its most external region a plexus of nerves and neurons, the "submucosal plexus of Meissner", which provides parasympathetic innervation to glands and the muscularis mucosae.

The muscular layer, also known as the "muscularis" is composed of two sublayers of smooth muscle. The deep layer contains circular fibers and is known either as the "circular muscle layer" or the "muscularis interna", the superficial layer contains longitudinal smooth muscle fibers and is known as the "longitudinal muscle layer" or the muscularis externa. Between both muscle layers lies the "myenteric plexus of Auerbach", a layer of sympathetic and parasympathetic nerves and neurons that provides nerve supply to the muscular layer. The combined action of this plexus on the muscular layer is responsible for peristalsis.

The serosa layer is the outer or external layer and is formed by a layer of peritoneum. As such, this layer can also be called "visceral peritoneum".

There are variations from GI organ to GI organ in the arrangement, content, glands, thickness of the layers, etc. The most important differences can be found in the thoracic esophagus and most of the rectum which are devoid of a serosa layer, and in the stomach, where there is a third muscular layer, deep to the circular layer, called the "oblique layer" that contributes fibers to the lower esophageal sphincter found at the esophagogastric junction.


Manubrium

UPDATED: The word [manubrium] is Latin and mean "handle", referring to the area where a person holds an instrument or device. To exemplify this, in Spanish the vernacular use of the word [manubrio] refers to the handles of bicycle or even the steering wheel of a car. 

In anatomy, the term is used with the same meaning. In the malleus, a hammer-like ossicle of the middle ear, the manubrium is the handle-like extension of the bone that attaches to the tympanic membrane.

In the case of the sternum, the [manubrium sterni] is the superior portion bound by the sternal angle (of Louis) inferiorly.  The use of the word manubrium can be explained because in early anatomy, the sternum was known by the Latin term [gladius] referring to the similarity of the sternum to the short sword of the gladiators. The area where you hold the sword is the handle, ergo, manubrium.

The manubrium has a superior and median notch called the "suprasternal notch" or the "jugular notch". It is important because in the case of a mediastinoscopy, the incision is made just superior to this landmark. The manubrium articulates superolaterally with the clavicle and inferolaterally with the superior aspect of the cartilage of the second rib. The rest of the rib cartilage articulates with the body of the sternum.

Image property of:CAA.Inc.. Artist: Mark J. Zuptich

Sternal angle - Angle of Luis
Click on the image for a larger version.

Induration

The word [induration] arises from the Latin words induratio, meaning "thick or hard" and indurare, meaning "hardening".

It refers to a pathological hardening of tissues caused by tumoration or edema, increase of fibrous or connective tissue, or other causes. It is a good, descriptive term when stating a patient's symptoms. The term has been in use in English since the 14th century.

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


It's our 20th year anniversary!!!

20 year Anniversary

At the beginning of 1998, Clinical Anatomy Associates, Inc. was formed as an Ohio Corporation. Our mission is to deliver industry relevant, cutting-edge Training, Marketing, and R&D services that will enable our clients to gain a competitive advantage. Over the past two decades, Clinical Anatomy Associates, Inc. has become the go-to R&D resource for feasibility studies that require cadaver studies and anatomical research. We are also a preferred training solution for Sales Representatives, Distributors, Engineers, Clinicians, and Marketing Managers in the areas of Medical Terminology, Clinical Anatomy, and Surgical Procedures. Our expertise allows us to deliver training in a variety of medical and anatomical topics.

In 2012 Dr. Efrain A. Miranda, CEO of Clinical Anatomy Associates started "Medical Terminology Daily" (MTD), a website/blog as a service to the medical community, medical students, and the medical industry. MTD posts medical or surgical terms, its meaning and usage, as well as biographical notes on anatomists, surgeons, and researchers through the ages. These posts are also shared on Facebook to a group of followers.

20 year anniversary for Clinical Anatomy Associates, Inc. and 6 years for Medical Terminology Daily! Help us congratulate our staff and specially the contributors and friends of Medical Terminology Daily.

Our thanks to all our customers, friends, and contributors for an amazing 20 years!!! Looking forward to more!!


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