Croatian Student Summit – CROSS is an international biomedical congress of students and young scientists, organised by the Student Council of the University of Zagreb School of Medicine, that has been continuously taking place for 17 years.
The project was started in the academic year 2004/2005 and it also involved Dental, Veterinary and Pharmacy-Biochemistry Schools of the University of Zagreb.
The seventeenth edition of our Congress will take place from April 27 to April 30, 2022 at the University of Zagreb School of Medicine. This year’s topic is: Sensing the World: Otorhinolaryngology and Ophthalmology. (This topic only refers to professors’ lectures. Topics for poster presentations may differ. For more information on how to register and participate in CROSS 17, please visit the How to participate page.)
The area of the head and neck is one of the most complex and exposed parts of the beautiful machine that we call the human body. Not only do they protect the essence of our being - the brain, which was the topic of last year's CROSS, they contain extremely important structures for us to function.
From the first time we open our eyes, at 28 weeks of gestation, to the moment we close them forever, the eyes are our window to the world, although until the 12th month of life it’s not the most crystal-clear picture. It can be said that the eyes are the mirror of the soul, but we have to ruin that saying and say that they are also the mirror of diseases that are not just in the domain of ophthalmologists. Often, they are in the domain of a sister specialty - otorhinolaryngology. Because of the overlapping of anatomical regions and close proximity of structures, it is clear why otorhinolaryngology and ophthalmology used to be one. Otorhinolaryngology didn’t just come from the separation, but also from fusion of otology and laryngology.
An important figure for both fields, just like for the whole field of medicine, is Hippocrates. Hippocrates, even without COVID, found the importance of olfaction, in other words, smell, which made a crucial part of his physical examinations. Hippocrates was one of the firsts who described the eye bulb anatomically, and in Egypt, his definitions of strabismus were found on Ebers papyrus.
To write Hamlet and kill the character of the king, Shakespeare needed to know some medicine, otorhinolaryngology to be precise. Shakespeare was born the same year when Eustachio described the pharyngotympanic tube or more popularly named Eustachian tube. That was the period when chronic ear inflammations with otorrhea were frequent. Due to the inflammation, tympanic membranes were often perforated and the Eustachian tube that led to the pharynx was a good path for poison which was able to reach systemic circulation in this way. Still, one canal is a great connection between otorhinolaryngology and ophthalmology - ductus nasolacrimalis, which connects the fossa lacrimalis with the nasal cavity. Alongside tears, atropine drops can also reach the greatly vascularized nasal mucosa, potentially causing systemic symptoms.
Otorhinolaryngology and ophthalmology differ from other fields in that they use special instruments and equipment during physical examination that help in visualisation of usually inaccessible places. Development of endoscopy, robotic surgery and new diagnostic methods made otorhinolaryngology and ophthalmology an even more exciting field. Both offer a rich surgical, and non-surgical aspect, following patients from their first screening of hearing or sight examination to presbycusis or cataract, acute or chronic conditions, fast and long-lasting procedures, and frequent and rare pathologies. After many attempts and learning from mistakes, in the year of 2021, the first successful transplantation of the trachea was achieved. This is the beauty of the diversity that not many fields offer, and in this year’s CROSS you can hear more about them and the problems they are faced with as well as the solutions they offer.
CROSS is a place for exchanging ideas, spreading information, achieving co-operation and long-term acquaintances. The aim of CROSS is to enable students and young scientists to learn at the very beginning of their carrers and research work the importance and purpose of participating in congresses as part of their further education. Attending CROSS and similar congresses will make their daily work easier by acquiring new knowledge and will enable them to come up with very important acquaintances in life.