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A Moment in History

Giovanni Domenico Santorini

Giovanni Domenico Santorini
(1681 – 1737)

Italian anatomist, Santorini was born in 1681 in Venice. The son of an apothecary, Santorini studied medicine at Bologna and Padua, receiving his doctorate in Pisa in 1701. He was appointed Public Professor of Anatomy at the Physicomedical College of Medicine when he was 22 years of age.

Santorini was praised for the clarity of his lectures and his dexterity as an anatomist.  He used magnifying glasses to study minute anatomical details, allowing him to clearly describe small structures hitherto unknown. Most of Santorini’s biographical data was written by Michael Girardi (1731 – 1797), one of his students. Girardi published Santorini’s work posthumously in 1775 in the book “Anatomici Summi-Septendecim Tabulae”.

Santorini’s himself wrote “Opuscula medica de structura” (Minute Medical Structures) in 1705. His most important book was “Observationes anatomicae”, published in Venice in 1724. One of the most interesting chapters in this book was “De mulierum partis procreationes datis” (Data on the female procreational structures ), making him a pioneer in the teaching of obstetrics. Santorini was physician to the Spedaletto (Hospital) of Venice, where he taught midwifery.

Santorini died in 1737 because of an infection he acquired during the dissection of a cadaver. At that time the rationale for infection and cadaver embalming were unknown.

With his posthumous publications, Santorini’s name and teachings became popular. Today his name is eponymically tied to several structures in the human body:

• Duct of Santorini: An accessory pancreatic duct that opens into a secondary duodenal papilla in the second portion of the duodenum
• Santorini’s valves: Mucosal folds found in the lumen of the primary duodenal papilla (of Vater) or hepatopancretic ampulla
• Santorini’s muscle: Risorius muscle • Santorini’s cartilages: The laryngeal corniculate cartilages
• Santorini’s veins: A plexus of vesicoprostatic veins found in the retropubic space) of Retzius
• Santorini’s concha: The superior nasal turbinate

Sources:
1. “The Dorsal Venous Complex: Dorsal Venous or Dorsal Vasculature Complex? Santorini’s Plexus revisited” Power NE, et al. BJU Inter (2011) 108: 930-932
2. “Giovanni Domenico Santorini: Santorini’s Duct” Edmonson, JM Gastrointest Endosc (2001) 53:6; 25A
3. "Santorini of the duct of Santorini" Haubrich, WS  Gastroenterol 120:4, 805
4. “Wirsung and Santorini: The Men Behind the Ducts” Flati, G; Andren-Sandberg, A. Pancreatology (2002)2:4-11
5. "A Historical Perspective: Infection from Cadaveric Dissection from the 18th to the 20th Centuries" Shoja, MM et al. Clin Anat (2013) 26:154-160

Original image courtesy of National Library of Medicine.


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Incredible and exciting good news!!!

Friends of Medical Terminology Daily:

As you know, we are part of an incredible quest to find the body of Andreas Vesalius, recognized worldwide as the Father of Modern Anatomy. His life and the story and legends about his death are part now of scientific fact and folklore.

The quest for the lost grave of Andreas Vesalius has been published in this blog several times. Many of the members of this group, such as Pascale Pollier, Theo Dirix, Dr. Sylvianne Déderix, Dr. Maurits Biesbrouck, etc. are contributors to Medical Terminology Daily.

The project has had several stages and you are welcome to follow the above links to the authors to read their contributions which clarify the scope and objectives of this quest, including Theo Dirix's article : "To put it in another way: where do we have to look for Vesalius's grave?"

Wax bust of Andreas Vesalius by Pascale Pollier Wax bust of Andreas Vesalius by Pascale Pollier. Click on the image for a larger depiction

The project next step is to perform a detailed research on the area where we suspect (actually know with a high degree of certainty) where the cemetery of the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie used to be.

The problem was to obtain the permits to do the non-invasive radar scan of the grounds in the area... and this is the exciting news! Following is the press release:

"The Belgian School of Archaeology)in Athens (EBSA) just obtained the permission for a new archaeological project at Zakynthos in collaboration with the local Ephorate and Dr Merkouri, as well as the IMS in Rethymnon (Dr A. Sarris). The project, initiated and coordinated by Theo Dirix and Pascale Pollier, concerns the quest for the tomb of the Belgian anatomist, father of modern anatomy, Andreas Vesalius who died and was buried in the island."

Needless to say, we are all excited. Now we have to fund this research, and you can all help by contributing as little or as much as you can to the GoFundMe page. We are very close to our objective and this will allow us to pay the permits, rent the equipment and finally get a little closer to finding Andreas Vesalius.

Original photograph of the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Zakynthos, Greece Original photograph of the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Zakynthos, Greece. Click on the image for a larger depiction

Personal note: Click on the following link to collaborate with this incredible quest. I already did. Dr. Miranda


GoFundMe Campaign for the next stage of the project