Anatomy word of the month: spleen

April 1, 2010 —

The name is a direct borrowing from the Greek word splen.  The spleen is located in the upper left quadrant of the abdomen behind the stomach. Despite its location, it has nothing to do with digestion, but works in regulating blood components, particularly, culling out aging red blood cells.  At one time this organ was thought to be the seat of emotions.  Have you ever been really angry and “vented your spleen” at some one?  And, in response, your listeners might have characterized you as “splenetic”.


Dr. Dyche was born in New Jersey and trained at Penn State’s Hershey Medical Center before coming to Des Moines in 1976. Over 30 plus years he has taught gross anatomy, embryology and neuroanatomy. He also served in administration as associate dean for basic sciences, dean of the College of Health Sciences, and acting director of the PA program. He was one of the founding instructors of CPR and ACLS at a time when few medical schools offered this training. He retired to Oregon in 2008, then returned to DMU in 2009. Did he miss the tornadoes, the below zero wind chills or the cadavers?