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Chapter 6 : The Demise of the Humoral Theory of Medicine

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Abstract:

For centuries, physicians were trained in the basic humoral theory of disease according to Galen. The scientific method and introduction of quantitative evidence into physiological problems were William Harvey’s greatest contribution to medicine. Such investigations eventually led to the 1628 publication of one of the great books in Western medicine, , or -often referred to simply as . The bleeding, cupping, emetics, or other treatments dictated by the long-held humoral theory were still used on patients. For doctors to completely discard the humoral theory with its attention to humors, innate heat, or pneuma, some viable alternative was needed to not just reject Galenic anatomy and physiology but to explain disease processes or, more specifically, the seat or starting place for disease. The anatomic concept of disease sent the humoral theory packing. Symptoms were of little use to the humoral theory of medicine. With the demise of the humoral theory, medicine moved towards a more modern age in the late 18th century.

Citation: Gaynes R. 2011. The Demise of the Humoral Theory of Medicine, p 79-91. In Germ Theory. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817220.ch6

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Citation: Gaynes R. 2011. The Demise of the Humoral Theory of Medicine, p 79-91. In Germ Theory. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817220.ch6
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Citation: Gaynes R. 2011. The Demise of the Humoral Theory of Medicine, p 79-91. In Germ Theory. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817220.ch6
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References

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1. Harvey, W. 1931. Anatomical Studies on the Motion of the Heart and Blood in Animals. Translated By Chauncey D. Leake., Charles C Thomas, Spring-field, IL.
2. Kuhn, T. S. 1962. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL.
3. Nuland, S. 1995. Doctors: the Biography of Medicine, p. 145170. Vintage Books, New York, NY.
4. Porter, R. 1997. The Greatest Benefit to Mankind: a Medical History of Humanity from Antiquity to the Present, p. 4482. HarperColllins, London, United Kingdom.
5. Porter, R. 1997. The Greatest Benefit to Mankind: a Medical History of Humanity from Antiquity to the Present, p. 163200. HarperColllins, London, United Kingdom.
6. Porter, R. 1997. The Greatest Benefit to Mankind: a Medical History of Humanity from Antiquity to the Present, p. 201244. HarperColllins, London, United Kingdom.
7. Schultz, S. G. 2002. William Harvey and the circulation of blood: the birth of a scientific revolution and modern physiology. N. Physiol. Sci. 17:175180.

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