An accidental and fortunate discovery.
A celebrated instance of serendipity in biomedical research took place in 1928 at St Mary’s Hospital in London. While studying staphylococci (staph bacteria), the physician and microbiologist Alexander Fleming happened to noticed that on a dish containing agar on which he had been growing germs, near some mold, the germs were less common. He grew more of the mold and named it penicillin from its Latin name Penicillium. Fleming found the mould was effective against bacteria that caused diseases such as anthrax, meningitis and diphtheria.
The word serendipity was coined by Horace Walpole in the fairy tale The Three Princes of Serendip (1754). Serendip was an old Persian name for Sri Lanka.
- Serial amnioreduction
The repeated removal of large volumes of amniotic fluid by amniocentesis. The rationale for serial amnioreduction is to prevent preterm delivery related to polyhydramnios (too much amniotic fluid) and to improve fetal hemodynamics by decreasing pressure on the surface of the placenta.
- Serial transverse enteroplasty
Abbreviated STEP. A surgical procedure designed to treat the short bowel syndrome. STEP is based on the idea that stapling V-shapes into alternating sides of the bowel will decrease its width and increase its length. A cutting stapler is used on alternate sides of the remaining small bowel to create a zigzag passageway.
Selective estrogen-receptor modulator.
The development of detectable antibodies in the blood that are directed against an infectious agent. Antibodies do not usually develop until some time after the initial exposure to the agent. Following seroconversion, a person tests positive for the antibody when given tests that are based on the presence of antibodies, such as ELISA.
Inflammation of the serous tissues of the body (the tissues that line the lungs, heart, abdomen, and inner abdominal organs).