Medical Terminology Daily (MTD) is a blog sponsored by Clinical Anatomy Associates, Inc. as a service to the medical community. 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

Jean-Louis Petit

Jean Louis Petit
(1674 – 1750)

French surgeon and anatomist, Jean Louis Petit was born in Paris in on March 13, 1674.  His family rented an apartment at his house to Alexis Littre (1658 – 1726), a French anatomist. Petit became an apprentice of Littre at seven years of age, helping him in the dissections for his lectures and at an early age became the assistant in charge of the anatomic amphitheater.

Because of Petit’s dedication to anatomy and medicine, in 1690 at the age of sixteen, became a disciple of a famous Paris surgeon, Castel.

In 1692, Petit entered the French army and performed surgery in two military campaigns. By 1693 he started delivering lectures and was accepted as a great surgeon, being invited to the most difficult operations.  In 1700 he was appointed Chief Surgeon of the Military School in Paris and in the same year he received the degree of Master of Surgery from the Faculty of Paris.

In 1715 he was made a member of the Royal Academy of Sciences and an honorary member of the Royal Society of London. He was appointed by the King as the first Director General of the Royal Academy of Surgery when it was founded in 1731.

Petit’s written works are of historical importance.  “Traite des Maladies des Os” ( A Treatise on Bone Diseases);  “Traite des Maladies Chirurgicales et des Operation” (A Treatise on Surgical Diseases and their Operations” This last book was published posthumously in 1774. He also published a monograph on hemorrhage, another on lachrymal fistula, and others.

He was one of the first to perform choIecystotomy and mastoidotomy. His original tourniquet design for amputations saved many in the battlefield and the design of the same surgical instrument today has not changed much since its invention by him.

His name is remembered in the lumbar triangle, also called the "triangle of Petit", and the abdominal hernia that can ensue through that area of weakness, the lumbar hernia or "Petit's hernia".

Sources:
1. “Jean Louis Petit – A Sketch of his Life, Character, and Writings” Hayne, AP San Fran Western Lancet 1875 4: 446-454
2. “Oeuvres compl?tes de Jean-Louis Petit” 1837 Imprimerie de F. Chapoulaud
3. Extraits de l'eloge de Jean-Louis Petit Ius dans Ia seance publique de I' Academie royale de chirurgie du 26 mai 1750” Louis A. Chirurgie 2001: 126 : 475- 81


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Cerebrospinal fluid

The cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is a colorless, transparent fluid produced from the arterial flow of blood by the choroid plexuses found within the ventricular system of the brain. The CSF exits the ventricular system and enters the subarachnoid space and its cisterns. It is then absorbed at the level of the arachnoid granulations into the venous component of the cardiovascular system.

The CSF has many functions, some of them being protection, the creation of a fluid environment where the brain 'floats", cleansing, and others. For a more detailed description of the CSF, click here.

The CSF is produced at an average rate of 550-700ml/day. It is absorbed at the same rate. An imbalance between production and absorption of CSF (as well as a blockage within the ventricular system) can lead to an accumulation of CSF within the brain, causing hydrocephalus.

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Hippocrates of Cos


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.

Hippocrates of Cos (460 BC - 370 BC). A Greek physician, Hippocrates was born on the Greek island of Cos (Kos) c. 460BC. Considered the "Father of Medicine" he removed Medicine from the realms of superstition and magic. He was the first to record medical writings and is considered the first one to use and maintain proper medical terminology. There are many writing attributed to Hippocrates, but there is no assurance that these were actually written by Hippocrates himself. Hippocrates changed the art of medical diagnosis by replacing supernatural precepts with observation-based methodology. Natural, rather than supernatural causes, would from here on explain all disease processes, what was known as Rational Medicine.

He is known for having set the oath that governs medical principles, the Hippocratic Oath, although there are many authors that contend that this oath was written long time after he died.

Sources:
1. "Hippocrates himself" JAMA. 1968;204(12):1138-1139

2. "Hippocrates: father of medicine" Tan, S Y (01/01/2002). Singapore medical journal(0037-5675), 43(1), p.5.

Original image courtesy of  www.nih.gov
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Atrioventricular sulcus

Anterior view of the thorax, showing surface relations of bones, lungs (purple), pleura (blue), and heart (red outline). P. Pulmonary valve. A. Aortic valve. B. Bicuspid valve. T. Tricuspid valve
Anterior view of the thorax, showing surface
relations of bones, lungs (purple), pleura (blue),
and heart (red outline).
P. Pulmonary valve. A. Aortic valve.
B. Bicuspid valve. T. Tricuspid valve


This is a combined word arising from terms [atrium], [ventricle], and [sulcus]. For the etymology of each word, click on the corresponding link.

The atrioventricular sulcus, also know as the "coronary groove" or "coronary sulcus" is an evident incomplete groove between the atria and ventricles of the heart. It is complete posteriorly and is separated anterosuperiorly by the roots of the aorta and the pulmonary trunk.  It contains the right coronary artery on the right side, and the circumflex artery on the left side, hence the name "coronary groove". These coronary arteries are not visible as they are usually covered by the epicardium and subepicardial fat.

The atrioventricular sulcus (and the corresponding coronaries) are also in relation to the deeper situated atrioventricular (AV) valves, the tricuspid valve on the right; and the mitral or bicuspid valve on the left side. The accompanying image depicts the location of the AV valves, and therefore the location of the AV sulcus. The image is an anterior view of the thorax, showing surface relations of bones, lungs (purple), pleura (blue), and heart (red outline). P. Pulmonary valve. A. Aortic valve. B. Bicuspid valve. T. Tricuspid valve 

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
3 "Tratado de Anatomia Humana" Testut et Latarjet 8 Ed. 1931 Salvat Editores, Spain
4. "Anatomy of the Human Body" Henry Gray 1918. Philadelphia: Lea & Febiger
Image modified by CAA, Inc. Original image by Henry Vandyke Carter, MD., courtesy of bartleby.com


Galen of Pergamon


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.

Galen of Pergamon (129AD - 200AD). A Roman physician of Greek origin, Galen is a seminal character in Medicine and Physiology for the ages. He has been known as Galen, Galenus, Aelius Galenus, Claudius Galenus, Claudius Clarissimus Galen, and Galen of Pergamus. He was born in 129 A.D. in a Roman-Greek community in Pergamum (today's Turkey). As a very young man, he studied Medicine at the Pergamum  temple of Asclepius.  After traveling for additional studies, Galen obtained the appointment of "physician to the gladiators" back at this hometown of Pergamum.

The post required of him to study and develop hygiene, preventive medicine, as well as dealing with the gladiator's injuries. The horrible wounds allowed him to observe and study human anatomy and develop incredible skills at treating battle wounds. Galen traveled to Rome, where he was appointed Physician to the Emperor Marcus Aurelius.

Galen performed human and animal anatomical dissections, writing over 300 medical, pharmaceutical, and philosophical treatises in Greek, many of which were translated into other languages, especially Latin and Arabic.

Galen of Pergamum
Even though most of the original books were lost, the translations and interpretations of Galen's work have survived until today. His teachings and dictums were considered undisputable for over 1,500 years. In fact, in Medieval times and early Renaissance doubting Galen's teachings was considered heresy!

Galen's name is preserved in the eponymical "Vein of Galen", the great central cerebral vein.

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. "Galen: history’s most enduring medic" Tan, SY; Singapore Med J 2002:3 (43):116 –117
3. "Galen and His Anatomic Eponym: Vein of Galen" Ustun, C.; Clinical Anatomy 17:454–457 (2004)
Original image courtesy of Images from the History of Medicine at nih.gov

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Temporal bone

The temporal bone is a complex bone composed of several regions. The image shows an anterior view of the right temporal bone. To see the location of the bone, look at the inset that shows by transparency the location of the bone. Click on the image for a larger picture.

A. Squamous portion: From the Latin [squama], and meaning "scale-like", this portion of the bone is very thin, articulating with the parietal and sphenoid bones.

B. Zygomatic process: an anterior extension that articulates with the corresponding temporal process of the zygomatic bone.

C. Mastoid process: A Greek term from [-mast-] meaning breast, and the suffix [-oid] meaning "similar to".

D. Styloid process: Another Greek term from [stylos] meaning a "pillar", but also a "pen", therefore "shaped or similar to a pen". This is a slender and long inferior bony process. Close to the syloid process there are other processes, the pterygoid processes.

E.Petrous process: From the Latin [petrus] meaning "rock". The petrous process contains the components of the external auditory canal, the middle and inner ear, and a large canal through which passes the internal carotid artery

Temporal bone (anterior view)

 

Image modified from the original: "3D Human Anatomy: Regional Edition DVD-ROM." Courtesy of Primal Pictures
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Ectopic

This term has combined Greek components. The prefix [ect-] comes from [ectos], meaning "outside", and the root term [-top-] from [topos], meaning "place or location". The suffix [-ic] of course means "pertaining to". The word [ectopic] then means "outside its (normal) place or location".

The words has several uses. As an example, in atrial fibrillation, the atria of the heart will depolarize in abnormal or ectopic locations, causing a dysrhythmia. Another common use is in endometriosis, where there are abnormal or ectopic implantation sites of endometrium.

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