|Many medical terms originate
from fascinating Greek mythology. Today's post is about a congenital
appear for the first time in literature in Homer's Odyssey (8th-7th century
In the beautiful poem
called the Odyssey the Greek poet Homer describes how the hero Odysseus
while returning home from Troy to his own kingdom of Ithaca, landed on an
island of the Cyclopes.
Cyclopes are giants who had
one eye, placed in the centre of their foreheads. They were shepherds and
looked after their sheep by day, returning at night to sleep in caves.
Odyssey and some other
sailors came to one of these caves which belonged to a giant called
Polyphemus. The giant captured the Greeks and started to eat them for
At last Odysseus found a
long pole and while Polyphemus slept, he thrust it into the eye of the giant
and blinded him. Smart Odysseus told Polyphemus that his name was "Nobody".
Brilliant idea and
something to keep in mind in the modern age.
When the giant screamed out
in pain other Cyclopes came running out to help him.Polyphemus cried out
that "Nobody" had hurt him. To this the Cyclopes replied that if no man had
hurt him then it must be one of the gods and, telling Polyphemus to bear the
pain as best as he could, they went away again.
Blind Polyphemus tried in
vain to catch his prisoners by feeling the back of each sheep. Odysseus and
his men escaped by clinging on to the wool underneath the sheep.
In many ancient Greek
stories there is evidence that one eyed Cyclopes had built great walls. The
word Cyclopean is still sometimes applied to massive stone structures.
Congenital Disease - Cyclopia
Holoprosencephaly are a group of disorders arising from failure of normal
forebrain development during embryonic life. There are three forms of
holoprosencephaly: alobar, semilobar, and lobar varieties.
Cyclopia (alobar holoprosencephaly) is
a rare and lethal human malformation, resulting from incomplete cleavage of
prosencephalon into right and left hemispheres. Approximately 1 in 100,000
births are identified as infants with cyclopia.
typically presents with a median single eye or a partially divided eye in a
single orbit, absent nose, proboscis (nose of a mammal, usually long and
flexible) like structure on forehead above the eye.
Extracranial malformations described in stillbirths with cyclopia include
polydactyl, renal dysplasia, and an omphalocele.
The etiology of this rare syndrome is not
clear. Possible risk factors include: maternal diabetes ,
infections during pregnancy (TORCHs), drugs during pregnancy
(alcohol, aspirin and many other teratogenic drugs), exposure to
ultraviolet light, and chromosomal anomaly like trisomy 13
and genetic cause.
knows whether one eyed Cyclops actually existed or not, but the congenital
ophthalmic disease, Cyclopia is certainly named after these mythical
characters and we will never forget these giants.