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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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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