Thursday, August 14, 2008

Terminologia Embryologica

The current edition of PLEXUS, the newsletter of the International Federation of Associations of Anatomy (IFAA), reports that their Federative International Committee on Anatomical Terminology (FICAT) is hard at work on a new list of anatomical terminology called the Terminologia Embryologica (TE).

The FICAT will be meeting next month in Romania to continue work on the TE, which is a standard list of anatomical terms related to embryological structures.

As you may know, the FICAT has already published two previous lists of anatomical terminology in an attempt to standardize usage worldwide. The lists attempt to eliminate eponyms where possible in favor of clearly descriptive terms. Each structure is listed by number, Latin name, and English name. (UK English is used in the lists.)

The first international list of anatomical terms published by the FICAT was the Terminologia Anatomica (TA), which lists the terminology of gross anatomy. The TA was then followed by the TH or Terminologia Histologica, a list related to microscopic anatomy. Both lists have a comprehensive index and guide to eponym equivalents. The lists are organized by location in the body, duh-uh.

In our textbooks, we have attempted to follow the available international lists as closely as possible. Where appropriate, we've also included synonyms--including eponyms--commonly used in many regions of the United States. Ian Whitmore, the FICAT chair, recently told me that he is encouraged that we A&P professors have taken up the cause of standardizing our use of terminology because it is only by doing so at the introductory level will it eventually filter upward and outward to the entire world of anatomy.

See the article on International Terminology at The A&P Professor website for more discussion on this topic.

What do YOU think about this attempt to standardize terminology? Click the link below to add your comment!

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