Box of 126 microscope preparations of a spinal column, Edinburgh, Scotland, 1911-1950
These slides show sections of the spinal column of an ‘idiot’. These slides were prepared by Alexander Ninian Bruce (d 1968), a Scottish physician and neurologist. The slides also show a number of different staining techniques used in microscopy and histology. ‘Idiot’ is a historical medical term, which is no longer used, to describe a person with a profound intellectual disability. Profound intellectual disability is a psychiatric category used to describe individuals with an IQ of less than 20.
Related Themes and Topics
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The study of the structure of tissues by means of special staining techniques combined with light and electron microscopy.
Glossary: microscopical preparation
slides prepared for examination under the microscope
The use of microscopes to study objects or samples. The three major types of microscopy are optical, electron and scanning probe microscopy.
Glossary: spinal column
The series of vertebrae that extend from the cranium to the coccyx, providing support and forming a flexible bony case for the spinal cord.
An out of date medical term for a person with profound mental developmental deficiencies. Now considered a term of abuse.
Intelligence Quotient (IQ) is a score based on one of several different standardized tests designed to measure intelligence and reasoning ability.
Glossary: profound mental retardation
A level of mental retardation or mental disorder associated with an IQ below 20.
A technique in which cells or thin sections of biological tissue are placed in coloured dyes (stains) to make them visible through a microscope. Staining heightens the contrast between transparent cell or tissue components.