Did you know that there's a new version of Elsevier Adaptive Quizzing (EAQ) now available for Anatomy & Physiology 10th edition? I've mentioned the value of EAQ in the past, but this version has been updated and enhanced to be an even more valuable ...

Patton Anatomy & Physiology

Author's notes, insights, and 
tips for teaching with 

Anatomy & 

Here's the latest update from Kevin Patton at Anatomy & Physiology for you. Click here to start your FREE subscription

5 new articles

The New Adaptive Quizzing Tool Is Available!

Did you know that there's a new version of  Elsevier Adaptive Quizzing (EAQ) now available for Anatomy & Physiology 10th edition?

I've mentioned the value of EAQ in the past, but this version has been updated and enhanced to be an even more valuable learning and teaching tool! 
  • Have you ever wished that you could tell where your students are struggling with content by just glancing at a dashboard?

  • Wouldn’t it be amazing if your students were being quizzed on material they’re struggling with versus material they’ve already mastered?

How would you like to create a quiz or a test that adapts to your student’s needs, in just 3 easy steps?

Check out this 1 minute video below to show you how!

My friend Ashley Nagel over at Elsevier Publishing is hosting a 30-minute live demo on EAQ for Anatomy & Physiology 10th edition on Thursday, October 4th at 1:00 PM CST.

If you would like to attend, simply register by clicking or copying/pasting this link:


If you attend, Ashley will send you a fantastic gift that’s fit for an A&P Instructor!

If you’re unable to make it to this demo, but would like to set up a private demo at a time that better works for your schedule, still register for this meeting and then shoot Ashley an email at a.nagel@elsevier.com . She’ll be happy to set up a time with you!


What's Up with Eponyms in A&P? Part 2

In my previous article, I gave some reasons why in the Anatomy & Physiology textbook I avoid possessive form for all eponyms (which I lump together with toponyms) and avoid capitalizing eponyms in which the name is converted to a different form. For example, I use Henle loop instead of loop of Henle and I use eustachian tube instead of Eustachian tube.

Next, why are eponyms usually presented as only the secondary or alternate term? For example, why is the term preferred in the textbook pancreatic islets and not islets of Langerhans or Langerhans islets? It turns out that this is another contemporary trend that I agree with.

Eponyms can be problematic. As much as I love saying Islets of Langerhans out loud—and I truly do—the term does not tell anyone much about the actual structure. Okay, it tells me that they are small and isolated, which I get from the term islets. However, the eponym doesn't tell me where to find them. Or what they do. Or much of anything very useful. But pancreatic islets tells me much more about them. Not everything, of course—but such descriptive terms tell me much more than does the eponym islets of Langerhans. 

Another potential problem with eponyms has to do with the people themselves. For example, recent discussions of Hans Asperger have expressed concerns about a potentially complicated relationship with Nazi "race hygiene." Although named for him, the condition Asperger syndrome (AS) may have been first described nearly two decades earlier by a Russian woman working in the field of child psychology.

Besides that, the Asperger eponym has been dropped from the ICD (International Classification of Disease) and the DSM (Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) in favor of a new range of conditions under the umbrella term autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In general, the ICD and DSM usually consider eponyms as secondary alternatives to "proper" disease terminology.

There are several issues at play with terms like the Asperger eponym. One is the fact that many (perhaps most) eponyms recognize the individual with the best awareness ratio, most aggressive supporters, and (probably mostly) lucky timing—not necessarily the person(s) most deserving of recognition. 

Another issue is the fact that we don't want to be reminded of Nazi ideology or atrocities when we are using scientific and medical terminology—nor are we anxious to honor individuals who may have used morally questionable methods or have other unsavory qualities.

Yet another potential issue with such eponyms is that they may reflect the dark underbelly of the history of science.
 Cross section of fallopian tube
Cross section of fallopian tube

For example, Asperger syndrome may have been first described by a woman—but the condition was named for a man. This case is probably more about luck of timing and particulars of awareness of the existing literature at a time when scientific reports were not as easily accessed across the globe as is the case nowadays. However, it can't be denied that most eponyms are named for men and that probably reflects the historical exclusion of women from science—and from scholarly endeavor in general.

A number of discussions have also questioned why many anatomical structures that are uniquely female are named with eponyms that honor men such as Fallopius, Bartholin, Skene, and so on.

Even though this my second consecutive article on the topic of eponyms, I'm still not finished! Stay tuned for Part 3 of my discussion...coming up in my next blog post. In that, I discuss the various lists of terminology and how we A&P teachers can best help our students deal with a changing terminology during this time of transition.


What's Up with Eponyms in A&P? Part 1

Eponyms are terms based on a person's name—such as Langerhans islet. Often, it's the recognized discoverer of a structure, process, condition, medical procedure, or whatever.

Toponyms are similar, but are named for a place rather than a person. For example, Lyme disease is a toponym, named for a town in Connecticut where the condition was first identified. In anatomy and medical circles, toponyms are often lumped together with eponyms. I'll do that here, too—because my explanations apply equally to both kinds of terms.

In Anatomy & Physiology, you may notice some things about the use of eponyms and toponyms that you are wondering about. So here's the scoop...

First, you may wonder why I avoid the possessive form of eponyms. For example, Parkinson disease  rather than Parkinson's disease. This method converts the possessive form to an adjective. By doing that, it's clear that Dr. Parkinson did not own the disease, nor did he have the condition himself. It's now very clear that the term refers to a particular disease named after Parkinson. I agree with this strategy.

It turns out that this has been the trend for a quite a while, but only recently becoming widespread in use. For example, the American Medical Association (AMA) and other professional organizations that have something to say about terminology, recommend this approach. Because I think a textbook should reflect contemporary usage and engage with emerging approaches that have recently become mainstream, it makes sense to go in this direction.

Something else you may wonder about is that some eponyms are capitalized and others are not. For example, why are fallopian tube and eustachian tube not capitalized when Corti organ and Henle loop are capitalized?

Honestly, I only recently learned about this issue—when my copyeditor and I started going back and forth changing each other's terms from capitalized to lowercase, back to capitalized again, then lowercase again. It turns out that it's an increasingly common style to drop the capitalization when the person's name is converted to an altered form. As when Fallopius is altered to fallopian.

What is important to remember is that using possessive forms eponyms is not wrong. Nor is capitalizing Haversian canal. However, neither usage is in favor around many professional circles right now. My purpose is merely to explain why my usage may differ from the way you and I were trained.

You may also wonder why I usually relegate eponyms to only secondary or alternate status when naming structures and processes of the body. And you may wonder how we handle these changes in usage in a world where some professionals still use the older terminology. Those answers will have to wait until my next few articles. This one is already too long!


New Unit Pre-Tests Help Jump-Start Student Learning

A particularly exciting update in the new edition of Anatomy & Physiology is the new learning feature in the opening of each unit of the book.

Recall that A&P is chunked into more, smaller chapters than other 2-semester A&P textbooks to reduce a reader's cognitive load while learning. This improves both the reader's engagement with the book, making them more likely to actually read it, and the overall ability to learn from it. These small chapters are grouped into six logical units, mapped out in the color-coded list on the first page of the book (facing the cover) that corresponds to the color tabs visible on the page edges.

In previous editions, the unit-opener page had a listing of the chapters within that unit plus a brief introduction to the "story" of the unit. I have now expanded that into a two-page spread that also includes a brief pre-test to get students engaged in the upcoming topics.

Learning science shows that pre-tests help jump-start student learning. Long used solely to measure students' prior knowledge, pre-tests have demonstrated their own ability to enhance learning outcomes—even if teachers never look at the scores. I have found this to be profoundly true in my own A&P teaching.

The concept and design of our new unit openers was worked out by textbook learning guru Michael Greer, veteran A&P teacher Terry Thompson, and myself. Terry then worked in consultation with me and our editors and book designers to execute the final versions.

Students will see just a few illustrated questions that help students refresh learning from prior chapters that they'll need when reading the new unit, along with questions that preview new concepts they'll encounter. Such pre-testing "primes the pump" by getting them thinking about key concepts ahead of their reading. And it sets the stage for connecting new learning with prior learning.

Readers get immediate feedback on the accuracy of their answers by using the answer key printed sideways along the page edge.  Just like in a magazine quiz, eh? That ensures that they're not accidentally remembering the wrong answer as they read.

Readers also get an embedded hint that tells them why the pre-test is there (to jump-start their learning).

Of course, our students may just skip the unit openers. So we need to tell them about it. Continued and emphatic reminders of the value of these pre-tests in making their reading and learning easier is a key to its role in student success in our course.


New 10th Edition of Patton's A&P textbook is now available!

I'm excited about the official release of the new edition of my textbook for 2-semester courses in human anatomy and physiology!

Although at first glance the cover of Anatomy & Physiology looks similar to that of the previous 9th edition—black background with splashes of bright colors—closer inspection reveals a series of bright human figures.

Those brightly colored human figures may at first appear to be medical images. However, they are artist’s renderings of what the human skeleton looks like as a person plays basketball.

The human skeleton in action represents several important aspects of what readers will learn by studying this textbook. First, the images get us thinking about what is going on inside our bodies as we do ordinary things—as we live our lives. 

The fact that the cover of Anatomy & Physiology shows a sequence of images reminds us that even simple processes are made up of many individual steps. We can also clearly see that form fits function, that the elements of the skeleton fit together and move in a way that allows certain kinds of actions.

That phrase, form fits function, has been standardized into that one formulation—from its many variants—in this edition. I have used it repeatedly, where appropriate, to help students absorb and eventually own that important principle of anatomy and physiology.

And a version of this explanation of the cover art is found just inside inside the book. Curious students who pick up the book for the first time may thus get a head start on learning human science.

Over the next few weeks and months, expect more posts from me that explain the story behind all the great new things you'll find inside the new edition of Anatomy & Physiology. Stay tuned by subscribing to my newsletter!

In the mean time, contact my friends at Elsevier to get a review copy or to schedule a conversation with a consultant who can tell you all about the new edition.

NOTE: The digital versions and binder-ready version of Anatomy & Physiology will be released very soon!


Contact Us

Past Issues

Join This List