Anatomy word of the month: pylorus

May 1, 2011 —

The “gatekeeper” in Greek. This ring of muscle tissue surrounds the juncture between the stomach and the first part of the small intestine, the duodenum. It functions as a gatekeeper by preventing food from exiting the stomach until it has reached a thick, soup-like consistency. Stomach contents called chyme, “juice” in Greek, then is squirted into the small intestine for further digestive activity. Opening and closing the pyloris is controlled by a variety of influences including nerves to the stomach, the vagus nerves.

Strange words are found in familiar places. The massive support structures found at the entry, gateway, to a bridge are called “pylons”.


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