chapter  1
26 Pages

The Myelodysplastic Syndromes: History and Classification

ByDavid P. Steensma, John M. Bennett

The myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) have probably existed as long as the human lifespan was stretched beyond the reproductive age. But the tools required for detection of MDS-accurate hemocytometers, biological stains capable of highlighting intracellular detail, and microscopes with reduced spherical aberration-and chromatic distortion-came into widespread use only at the end of the 19th century. In addition, clinicians rarely attempted bone marrow examination of living patients for diagnostic purposes until 1929, when a technique for sternal marrow aspiration was reported by Mikhail Arinkin in Leningrad (1,2). So the definition of MDS as a discrete clinical syndrome had to wait until the 20th century-just as the molecular solutions to MDS will surely belong to the 21st century, for similar reasons related to evolving technology.