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Posts tagged Anatomy word of the month

Anatomy word of the month: Buccinator

The “trumpeter” in Latin. Our cheek muscles, the buccinator, assist the tongue during chewing movements to hold food between our teeth. Otherwise food would accumulate between our cheek and gums making chewing much less efficient and much more frustrating to accomplish.  The buccinator muscles also hold in our cheeks during whistling and forceful blowing through […]

— Bill Dyche

Anatomy word of the month: Decussation

“To make an X” (Latin). A decussation is an intersection of pathways in the form of an X. Most nerve pathways between our brain and spinal cord cross over at some point. This accounts for why each side of our brain (two cerebral hemispheres) has control over the opposite side of our body. In anatomical […]

— Bill Dyche

Anatomy word of the month: Cruciate ligaments

“Cross-shaped” in Latin. In the knee joint are two ligaments that cross over each other, the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments. These ligaments help stabilize the joint, in particular, to prevent the femur (thigh bone) from slipping too far forward or backward on the tibia (leg bone). The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is frequently torn […]

— Bill Dyche

Anatomy word of the month: Phrenic nerve

The phrenic nerves control the diaphragm, our major muscle of respiration (breathing). From the Greek, phrenic means both diaphragm and mind. The ancient Greeks believed that the diaphragm was the seat of our emotions. Sound farfetched? Have you ever “heaved a sigh” of sadness or relief? The same stem is found in schizophrenic and, less […]

— Bill Dyche

Anatomy word of the month: Vagus

Vagus means “wandering” in Latin. This aptly named nerve (there are a pair of them) meanders from our brainstem, down the sides of our neck giving branches to our palate, larynx and pharynx, through our chest cavity providing branches to the heart and lungs, and into our abdominal cavity providing branches to most of our […]

— Bill Dyche

Anatomy word of the month: gluteus maximus

The most feared of all the Roman emperors? Not really! The gluteus maximus (Latin- largest of the buttock) is the muscle mass making up most of the buttocks. Contrary to popular opinion, we do not sit on these muscles, because they move aside laterally as we sit. Actually, we sit on our pelvic bones protected with […]

— Bill Dyche

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