Theodor Kerckring (1638–1693) and his contributions to describing fetal development and craniospinal malformations
Very little is written about Theodor Kerckring, a Dutch anatomist who lived from 1640 to 1693 mostly in Amsterdam and Hamburg. It is questionable whether he was born in Amsterdam or Hamburg . He studied medicine at Leiden University and he studied under Franciscus Sylvius. Kerckring was a friend with Niels Stensen and his contemporaries included the well-known anatomists and scientists Bartholin, Pecquet, Wirsung, Brunner, de Graaf, Malpighi, Peyer, Ruysch, Swammerdam, and van Leeuwenhoek. During a period of human anatomical revelation, the Kerckring name was rarely mentioned among his contemporaries such as Vesaulis, Boerhaave, and Harvey. His most renown descriptions were of the valves of Kerckring of the small intestines, better known as the plicae circularis or valvulae conniventes .
In the brief life of Theodor Kerckring, he was able to write and illustrate many anatomical deformities and diseases in his book, Spicilegium Anatomicum. The collection contained novel findings in anatomy for his daytime. The observations were comprised of anatomical anomalies, medical diseases, and public health risks.
Kerckring reported a variety of anatomical findings the purpose of this review paper is to bring to light his discoveries of fetal bone development and propel his translated writings to the scientific community as often, significant contributions from the past are forgotten by modern readers . His illustrations and observations on the fetal skull base, rachischisis, and other congenital embryological derailments such as spinal lipomas were profound for their time. Our current understanding of such anatomical structures and malformations are based on early contributions such as those by Theodor Kerckring.
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Conflict of interest
The authors have no conflicts of interests to report.
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