Rare Book Profile: Thomas Willis’ Cerebri Anatome cue Accessit Nervorum Descriptio et Usus.

Thomas Willis’s Cerebri Anatome cue Accessit Nervorum Descriptio et Usus (London: Thomas Roycroft, 1664) improved on existing descriptions of the brain, and was the first to attribute functions to different parts. It was considered the definitive description of the brain for the next two hundred years.

Thomas Willis (1621-1675) was an English physician best known for contributions to the fields of anatomy, neurology and psychiatry. He made major contributions to cardiology, endocrinology (especially the study of diabetes mellitus), and gastroenterology. He received a master’s degree from Christ Church, Oxford in 1642, fought for Charles I in the English Civil War, then returned to his studies, receiving the degree of bachelor of medicine in 1646.  He was part of a group of scholars devoted to experimentation in chemistry and fermentation, which included John Locke, Robert Hooke, Robert Boyle, Christopher Wren, Isaac Newton, and others. De Fermentatione, published in 1656, and De Febribus, published in 1659, grew from this collaborative work as well as his medical practice. As a Royalist, Willis was barred from holding office until the Restoration. In 1660, he replaced a Commonwealth supporter as professor of natural philosophy at Oxford, where he explored the anatomy of the brain as a means to determine the nature of the soul. Later that year he became a doctor of medicine. He was one of the early fellows of the Royal Society (1661), and was elected an honorary fellow of the College of Physicians in 1664. In 1666, he moved to London and established a profitable medical practice, whose clientele included the Duke of York (later King James II).

Cerebri Anatome was a collaborative effort with physician Sir Thomas Millington and anatomist Richard Lower, with illustrations by Christopher Wren, combining knowledge received from earlier anatomists with their own experimental and clinical observations. It contains 29 chapters on the anatomy and function of the brain and nervous system, the first of which was devoted to study methods and specimen preparation. The brain was removed from the skull before being sliced from the base upwards, then examined with magnification and drawn by Wren, whose drawings were then sent to a local engraver to be rendered on copper plates for the printer. Experimental techniques included microscopy as an aid to illustration and dye injection to study blood flow in cerebral arteries. Dissection and experimental results were supplemented by case histories. Cerebri Anatome introduced the word “neurology,” and contained the first detailed description of the importance and function of the Circle of Willis, a circle of arteries at the base of the brain. It also introduced names for various parts of the brain that are still used today.

Willis’ other major works include Pathologiae Cerebri et Nervosi Generis Specimen (1667) containing the first descriptions of neurological disorders, including epilepsy and asthma, and De Anima Brutorum Quae Hominis Vitalis ac Sensitiva Est (1672),  in which Willis further explores the soul-brain connection through analysis of different nervous systems.


The Health Sciences Library’s copy of Cerebri Anatome is the octavo edition of 1664, bound in vellum with hand-lettered spine and red-sprinkled edges. It was given to the library by Dr. James J. Waring.


Rare materials are available to individuals or groups by appointment on Wednesday mornings and Thursday afternoons, or at other times by arrangement. To schedule an appointment, contact Emily Epstein, emily.epstein@ucdenver.edu or 303-724-2119.

[Emily Epstein, Cataloging Librarian]


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NIH Workshop on Building a Precision Medicine Research Cohort

On February 11–12, 2015, NIH will host a workshop to discuss the opportunities and challenges around building a large research cohort focused on precision medicine. We look forward to hearing from several leading experts from many disciplines and sectors. While we are at capacity for in-person attendance, the event will be webcast live both days. For more information and access to the Workshop Planning Team White Papers visit http://www.nih.gov/precisionmedicine/workshop.htm.

Dana Abbey, MLS

Health Information Literacy Coordinator

New DynaMed App!

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You no longer need to get a serial ID from the library for the DynaMed App!


  • Access content offline
  • Bookmark Favorites
  • Email topics
  • Write and save notes about particular topics

Download Instructions:

1. Download the free DynaMed app from the iTunes Store or Google Play.
iOS/iTunes App Store Link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dynamed-by-ebsco/id948906986?ls=1&mt=8
Google Play Store Link: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=vspringboard.dynamed.activity
2. Access DynaMed from the library’s website. The DynaMed link is under “Clinical Tools.”
3. Click on the DynaMed mobile access link at the top of the DynaMed interface and enter your University or Hospital email address.  An authentication key will be emailed to you.

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4. Open the DynaMed email from your device.
5. Within 48 hours, tap on the link in the email to authenticate the app.
Note: after 48 hours, you will need to request a new authentication key.
6. The DynaMed App opens on your device and begins the initial content download.
Note: It is recommended that you are on a Wi-Fi connection for the initial download of DynaMed content as well as when updates become available.
7. Your device is ready to go!

FAQs: (also see Dynamed’s Support Site: http://support.ebsco.com/knowledge_base/detail.php?id=3923)

Q. Can I install the DynaMed app on multiple devices?

Yes. When you email yourself an authentication link from within DynaMed, you can use that link to authenticate the app on up to three devices. If you would like to authenticate more than three devices, send yourself another authentication link from within DynaMed for the additional devices.

Note: Open the email from the mobile device you wish to authenticate and tap the authentication link to authenticate the app.

Q. Can I use the DynaMed app offline?

After installing the app and downloading the DynaMed content, the app can be used offline without a wireless signal. A wireless signal is required to perform updates to the DynaMed content when updates become available.

Q. Do I have to uninstall the Skyscape or Omnio apps before I install the new DynaMed app?

No. If you were using the Skyscape or Omnio apps to access DynaMed on your mobile device, you do not have to uninstall those apps to download/use the new DynaMed app. However, those apps will no longer be updated with the latest DynaMed content, so it is recommended that you install the new DynaMed app.

Mobile whiteboards: Round and round they go

image1Are you in need of a whiteboard, but the lack of study rooms has got you down? Have no fear, the Health Sciences Library has you covered. Recreate that study room feeling with one of the mobile whiteboards!

Mobile whiteboards are like normal whiteboards, but equipped with wheels so you can move them to the desired location.

The mobile whiteboards can be found throughout the library, on all three floors, and markers are available for check out at the Service Desk.

Updated: Personal account access problem in Ovid

Update: the problem should now be resolved.Please contact the library if you encounter further problems.

Users have been unable to log in to their personal accounts in Ovid recently because the link for the personal accounts is not appearing.  Additionally, “Logged in as uchs9901” appears in the upper right corner. We are working with Ovid to correct the problem as quickly as possible.

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