Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Tackling The Veterinary Terminology: Prefixes (myelo-)

Remember the Spelling Bee? Big words are easier to tackle when you understand how they're put together. Veterinary terms are composed in the same way. Just like with other words, the main parts of a veterinary term are a prefix, a root, and a suffix. The difference is that they typically come more directly from Greek or Latin.

A prefix is placed at the beginning of a word to modify its meaning by providing additional information. It usually indicates number, location, time, or status.
myelo- [mī′ĕ-lō] - New Latin from Greek - having to do with a spinal cord or bone marrow

This suffix is dangerously similar to myo-, and I imagine they can be easily confused. I know I had a hard time before I figured out what's going on with these two.

No, it's not like tomato, tomahto, all the same. These prefixes might look and sound similar but mean different things. Myo- refers to muscles, while myelo- refers to spinal cord or bone marrow. 

Once you get over that bit, the rest is straightforward again.

Though I was curious how did bone marrow and spinal cord ended up in one bag.

Turns out, that the original Greek word meant marrow. As medical terminology was developing, spinal cord got thrown in the same bag in the days when there was still little understanding of the function of both the spinal cord and the marrow. They had to call it something and it made sense at the time.

After all, both of them are kinda the stuff inside the bones, right? So there is no deep secret to it.

As for some  examples, you might encounter following medical terms. 

Myelitis, inflammation of the bone marrow or spinal cord. Myelogram, imaging of the spinal cord. Myeloma, a tumor of the bone marrow. Myelopathy, any disease of the bone marrow or of the spine, such as degenerative myelopathy, or cervical spondylomyelopathy, aka Wobbler syndrome. (Btw, are you noticing the parade of suffixes we've already discussed?)

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Related articles:
Veterinary Suffixes (-itis)
Veterinary Suffixes (-oma) 
Veterinary Suffixes (-pathy)  
Veterinary Suffixes (-osis) 
Veterinary Suffixes (-iasis) 
Veterinary Suffixes (-tomy) 
Veterinary Suffixes (-ectomy)  
Veterinary Suffixes (-scopy) 
Veterinary Suffixes (-emia)
Veterinary Suffixes (-penia)
Veterinary Suffixes (-rrhea) 
Veterinary Suffixes (-cyte) 
Veterinary Suffixes (-blast) 
Veterinary Suffixes (-opsy)
Veterinary Suffixes (-ac/-al)

Veterinary Prefixes (hyper-) 
Veterinary Prefixes (hypo-)
Veterinary Prefixes (pyo-) 
Veterinary Prefixes (myo-)

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