Hippocrates to Harrison : Physiology introduction


HIPPOCRATES TO HARRISON


Introduction
Classical Works
Anaesthesia
Surgery
Anatomy
Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Internal Medicine
Pathology
Infection and Immunity
Neurology and Psychiatry
Public Health
Tropical Medicine
Therapeutics
Evolution and Genetics
Physiology
Authors A to Z
Who was Harrison?
Contacts











Physiology

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The ancient Greeks invoked the concept of the four humours to explain all bodily functions but the more practical Romans, including Galen, attempted to assign specific functions to individual organs on the basis of observations on animals. These ideas co-existed rather uneasily until the rise of scientific measurement was applied to experiments designed to test theories of bodily function.

Descartes is credited with writing the first European textbook of physiology (De Homine, 1662) even though it contains many quite erroneous notions such as locating the soul in the pineal gland. The emerging theories and techniques of physics and chemistry coupled with the rapid advances in anatomy resulting from dissection were soon to transform knowledge of circulation, respiration, the nervous system and digestion. By the end of the 18th century the concept of the four humours had been abandoned, but understanding of the controlling mechanisms of the body systems and the significance of the cell and its metabolism only developed during the nineteenth century.