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It doesn’t go to my head!

 •  • by Paul Ingraham
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Weekly nuggets of pain science news and insight, usually 100-300 words, with the occasional longer post. The blog is the “director’s commentary” on the core content of a library of major articles and books about common painful problems and popular treatments. See the blog archives or updates for the whole site.

I’ve always had trouble remembering the name of the “cephalic” vein, because the name seems wrong. What does it have to do with the head? It doesn’t go to my head! I finally went looking for an explanation and found one quickly on Wikipedia: “Ordinarily the term cephalic refers to anatomy of the head. When Persian physician Ibn Sīnā's Canon was translated into medieval Latin, cephalic was mistakenly chosen to render the Arabic term al-kífal, meaning ‘outer’.”

Phew, I feel much better knowing that! (It’s also probably to stick in my mind much more better now.) And now I wonder how many other anatomical terms are based on mistranslations …

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