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Anatomy News and Updates


Anatomy word of the month: duodenum

“Twelve each” in Latin. The duodenum is the first section of the small intestine attached to the outlet of the stomach, the pylorus. Early anatomists measured it as approximately twelve fingers’ breadths long. Duodecim is the number 12 in Latin. Take the Latin number, pass it through old French dozaine into modern English, and you have “dozen”!

— Bill Dyche

Anatomy word of the month: atlas

The atlas is the first, or top, vertebra of our bony spinal column supporting the “globe” of the head.  In Greek mythology, Atlas was one of the early gods, called the Titans.  Atlas warred against Zeus, King of the Olympian gods, and lost.  For his punishment, Atlas was condemned to bear the weight of the world and heavens […]

— Bill Dyche

Happy birthday to A.T. Still!

Today marks A.T. Still’s 182nd birthday. He is known as the father of osteopathic medicine. Osteopathy is a whole body approach to health that recognizes the integral role in wellbeing played by the musculoskeletal system. We are very proud to be the second oldest osteopathic medical schools in the United States. Learn more about what […]

— Courtney Tompkins

Anatomy word of the month: coronary

The coronary arteries encircle the heart “like a crown” which is its literal meaning in Latin.  The coronaries supply blood to the heart muscle itself.  Blockage of a branch of a coronary artery causes a “heart attack” in layman’s language.  The same root meaning is found in coronation and coroner.  The latter word originally referred to an official appointed […]

— Bill Dyche

Anatomy word of the month: gallbladder

Gall is an Anglo-Saxon word for bile.  The gallbladder stores bile from the liver.  Bile is released into the duodenum, the first part of the small intestine, when triggered by a fatty meal.  Bile is from the Latin word for the secretion which also means “anger”.  Chole is the Greek word for bile (and wrath) found in medical […]

— Bill Dyche

The calm in the storm

While the new class of talented and eager P.A. students has already begun their first year at DMU, we D.O. students are enjoying a much needed break in our training as our summer gets into full swing.  As we all step out into the real world for the first time in months (on the second […]

— Nathan McConkey

Anatomy word of the month: salpinx

Salpinx means “trumpet” in Greek , that is, a tube-shaped structure with a flared opening. The term is not used alone, but as a root or central meaning in numerous words referring to the uterine tubes. Examples of these terms are: salpingitis (inflammation of), salpingectomy (removal of), hematosalpinx (bleeding within). You may be more familiar […]

— Bill Dyche

Annual DMU memorial service for body donors free, open to public

(Des Moines, IA) – On Friday, May 20, Des Moines University (DMU) will honor 57 Iowans who donated their bodies in the past year to further medical education. The family of each donor, the DMU community and the public are invited to remember and recognize each generous gift. The non-denominational service will begin at 1 […]

— Courtney Tompkins

Attack of the body-snatchers

Students in DMU’s clinical programs and master of science in anatomy program are privileged to begin exploring the body and performing dissections on donated bodies in their first semester, but that wasn’t the case in past centuries: The inability of medical schools and scientists to acquire specimens, the lack of legislation and regulation of body […]

— Barb Boose

Under your skin

Ever wonder what your body looks like with no skin? Well, you’re in luck because the Science Center of Iowa is hosting the lauded BODY WORLDS Vital traveling exhibit starting this Saturday, May 7. Real donated human bodies are preserved through plastination and will be on display for guests to get a glimpse at what […]

— Nicole Branstad

Anatomy word of the month: pylorus

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 […]

— Bill Dyche

Anatomy word of the month: cadaver

“To fall”, “to perish” in Latin. Many terms are used for a dead body some more irreverent than others: the decedent, a corpse, a stiff, a cadaver. But only the last word is exclusively used for a body that has been preserved for dissection. Although atlases, highly realistic models, and computer simulations have supplemented even […]

— Bill Dyche

Feeding the students!

On March 9, 6 p.m., DMU’s Significant Others Support (SOS) organization will host “Feed the Students.” While SOS performs many volunteer activities in the community, this one focuses on supporting those closest to us, the students! This event consists of SOS members cooking a large quantity of food offsite and providing it, with all the […]

— Michael Drnec

Anatomy word of the month: crista galli

The “cock’s comb” is a wedge of bone found on the anterior floor inside of the skull in the midline. The meninges (protective membranes surrounding the brain) are anchored anteriorly at this point. The Latin name for the group of animals including chickens and turkeys is galliformes. Those imaginative ancient anatomists thought that the vertical, […]

— Bill Dyche