“Mucus, phlegm” in Latin. Ancient anatomists thought the pituitary produced the mucous secretions of the nose. The pituitary is a pea-sized gland hanging from a stalk on the undersurface of the brain. It is well protected in a bony depression, the sella turcica, in the floor of the cranial cavity. The gland is located near the top of the nasal cavity, and there is a floor drain-like bone called the cribriform plate (sieve-like, Latin) in front of it that makes the ancient idea not too far-fetched. However, the gland has more important duties controlling the hormones of the ovaries/testes, thyroid gland, adrenal glands and milk secretion (in lactating females), among other activities. Signs of pituitary tumors vary according to what hormone is involved. For example, a pituitary tumor in a growing child producing growth hormone can lead to “giantism”.
Anatomy word of the month: pituitary
Mar 2, 2015 | Updated Dec 2, 2015