Pathology Spotlight: Tapeworms

In this Pathology Spotlight our Human Remains Conservator, Cat Irving, tell us all about tapeworms- from how they contaminate humans to their use in ‘diet pills’ in the early twentieth century.

Pathology Spotlight: Acute pulmonary oedema caused by poison Gas in WWI.

In September’s Pathology Spotlight, the Museums Senior Research Fellow, Ken Donaldson, looks at acute pulmonary oedema caused by poison Gas in WWI. This is a lung taken at post mortem from a British WWI soldier who was gassed with dichlorethyl sulphide, also known as sulphur mustard gas, in France on the 22nd July 1917. His…

Pathology Spotlight- Kyphosis and Pott’s Disease

In the latest Pathology Spotlight blog, our Human Remains Conservator, Cat Irving, takes a look at Kyphosis and Pott’s Disease. The human vertebral column, or spine, naturally forms a series of curves, which facilitate our posture and balance as upright animals. At the neck (the cervical spine) and lower back (the lumbar spine) the curve…

Pathology Spotlight: Advanced neurological syphilis and the Tuskegee study

In July’s Pathology Spotlight, Ken Donaldson, Senior Museum Research Fellow, takes a look at a specimen showing neurological syphilis. He also discusses the highly unethical Tuskegee Study.   This specimen is of the dura mater, the outside covering of the brain. Normally this is a thin membrane as visible at the top and bottom of…

Pathology Spotlight- Vitamin D Deficiency: Osteomalacia and Rickets

Bones are made principally from a combination of the protein collagen (30%) and the calcium-based mineral hydroxyapatite (70%). Inadequate production of the mineral portion of bone can lead to soft bones, a condition called osteomalacia. The usual cause is a deficiency in vitamin D, which is required to absorb calcium from the diet. Vitamin D…

Pathology Spotlight: Sooty Lungs

Senior Research Fellow, Ken Donaldson looks at the causes of Environmental anthracosis or ‘lung black spots’.   The image is of the cut surface of a specimen of normal lung that was preserved in the early 19th century. At that time coal, candles and oil were burnt in homes for heat, light and cooking and…

Pathology Spotlight: Brain Aneurysm

Our Human Remains Conservator takes a look at Brain Aneurysms in our latest Pathology Spotlight blog.   The walls of our arteries and veins are composed of three layers,  with varying amounts of elasticity to respond to the pulses of blood that come from the heart’s regular beating. Sometimes areas of the wall can become thin…

Pathology Spotlight: Galeazzi Fracture of the Radius

In February’s Pathology Spotlight, Professor Ken Donaldson, Senior Research Fellow in the Museum takes explains Galeazzi Fractures.   The radius, the forearm bone that connects to the thumb, has been broken by trauma near its end (arrow) and the hand is deflected upwards. The ulna has retained its position but the forced lateral and upward…

Pathology Spotlight: Horse-Shoe Kidney

Sometimes during development the lower ends of the foetal kidneys fuse together, resulting in one u-shaped organ, rather than the normal pair of kidneys lying either side of the spine. This is known as a horse-shoe kidney, or ren arcuatus. The fusion usually takes place between weeks 7 and 9 of development. The horse-shoe kidney…

Pathology Spotlight: Onychogryphosis

Onychogryphosis, or Ram’s Horn Nail, is a condition in which there is abnormal nail growth. It causes the nail to become very overgrown, often resembling a ram’s horn, as the name suggests. While it can affect any nail of the fingers and toes, it is most commonly seen in big toe. There is no singular…

Pathology Spotlight: A Tibia with Osteomyelitis

In this month’s Pathology Spotlight we take a look at Osteomyelitis.   This specimen is one of the best known in Surgeons’ Hall Museums, where it is featured in its own display case. It is a tibia bone from an Edinburgh-born sailor called Charles Anderson. In 1814, aged 17 years, Anderson was sailing in the Baltic…

Pathology Spotlight: Ovarian Dermoid Cyst

  The specimen is a tumour called a dermoid cyst which was found on an ovary.  It can be seen to contain skin with sebaceous and sweat glands which are normal elements of skin, five well-formed teeth and a few long silky hairs. The mechanism by which germ cells with the capacity to grow into…