The Myelodysplastic Syndromes: History and Classification
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.