Dissection and Vivisection in the European Renaissance & Hygiene in the Early Medical Tradition.
Roger French, Dissection dissection /dis·sec·tion/ (di-sek´shun)
1. the act of dissecting.
2. a part or whole of an organism prepared by dissecting. and Vivisection vivisection (vĭv'ĭsĕk`shən), dissection of living animals for experimental purposes. The use of the term in recent years has been expanded to include all experimentation on living animals, rather than just dissection alone. in the European Renaissance
Aldershot and Brookfield, VT: Ashgate, 1999.43 pls. + ix + 289 pp. $86.95. ISBN ISBN
International Standard Book Number
ISBN International Standard Book Number
ISBN n abbr (= International Standard Book Number) → ISBN m : 1-85928-361-6.
Heikki Mikkeli, Hygiene in the Early Medical Tradition
(Humaniora, 305.) Helsinki: Academia Scientiarum Fennica, 1999. 9 figs. + 195 pp. np. ISBN: 951-41-0869-8.
These two books, on different but related topics, are instructive and valuable. Professor French wants to know why a vast body of knowledge on anatomical dissection, built up from the days of Galen (second century), but especially from the middle ages (twelfth century) to the end of the Renaissance (beginning of the seventeenth century), had so little to do with what we take to be important, viz., use in medicine and surgery [emphasis added]. As the author puts it: "This book asks the Why? rather than the How? of the growth of dissection and vivisection" (1). He wants to examine the thesis that the anatomists were building up anatomical knowledge for some purposes other than direct medical or surgical use [emphasis added]. "The purposes and the methods used to achieve them are the topic of what follows" (2).
Both "dissect dissect /dis·sect/ (di-sekt´) (di-sekt´)
1. to cut apart, or separate.
2. to expose structures of a cadaver for anatomical study.
v. " and "anatomize a·nat·o·mize
To dissect an animal or other organism to study the structure and relation of the parts. " are derived from Latin and Greek verbs, respectively, meaning "to cut." This definition seems to have been first used by John of Alexandria (first half of the seventh century), an early commentator on Galen (20). At least many later writers on anatomy cite him by name and seem to attribute to him this definition.
The author presents, in chronological order, examples of various writers who employed anatomical dissection and vivisection, and for what purposes. Early on, the author states that "direct medical or surgical use" as a reason for doing anatomical dissection well explains how we see the matter, but this has little to do with the way the medieval or Renaissance doctor saw it. This is an important caveat, because it suggests that, in order to understand why medieval or Renaissance doctors did dissections, in each instance we have to know what the doctor in question took to be important purposes for anatomical dissection. Our own presuppositions have nothing to do with it.
There are at least twenty different authors or subjects that French uses to develop his argument. Summarizing, these are the main uses employed by various anatomists from the late thirteenth to the mid-seventeenth century: for forensic examinations to determine the causes of death; for using anatomy for teaching purposes; for anatomical knowledge as an academic discipline taught in the schools; for a "philosophical-pious" justification; for use of anatomy to help Vesalius confirm or refute Galen; for a training for vivisections; for religious reasons; for Harvey's discovery of the circulation of the blood; for Descartes' use of anatomy to establish a new mechanical philosophy, and for at least two writers (Massa Massa, in the Bible
Massa (măs`ə), in the Bible, seventh son of Ishmael.
Massa, city, Italy
Massa (mäs`ä), city (1991 pop. 66,737), capital of Massa-Carrara prov. and Riolan) who tried to establish anatomy as an independent separate discipline. On the whole, I would say the author has established his program. In spite of minor quibbles, the main argument is not affected.
As for the second item, Professor Mikkeli says: "This study ... is not a social history, but instead an intellectual history of hygiene, or dietetics dietetics /di·e·tet·ics/ (-iks) the science of diet and nutrition.
The branch of therapeutics concerned with the practical application of diet in relation to health and disease. , as it was more commonly called in early modern Europe The early modern period is a term used by historians to refer to the period in Western Europe and its first colonies which spans the two centuries between the Middle Ages and the Industrial Revolution. " (8). The work consists of two parts (three chapters each): first, the main task is to examine how classical dietetics was rediscovered in the Renaissance and how that was reflected in dietetical treatises (11). The second deals with hygiene or dietetics as a part of medicine in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (12). The work ends with a conclusion that nicely sums up the volume (175-77).
In the third book of his Ars medica medica (māˑ·dē·k , Galen treated six factors that had an effect on human health (16, 54). Later tradition called them the "six non-naturals," viz., air, food and drink, motion and rest, sleep and waking, repletion re·ple·tion
1. The condition of being fully supplied or completely filled.
2. A state of excessive fullness. and evacuation, and the accidents of the soul (i.e., strong emotions and passions). For Galen, the proper regulation of these factors was assumed to ensure a healthy state of the body. This Galenic formulation Galenic formulation deals with the principles of preparing and compounding medicines in order to optimize their absorption. The formulation of a medicine has an impact on the pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and safety profile of a drug. was influential in many medieval and Renaissance medical writers, as late as the early eighteenth century, even when authors were profoundly influenced by various new ideas "New Ideas" is the debut single by Scottish New Wave/Indie Rock act The Dykeenies. It was first released as a Double A-side with "Will It Happen Tonight?" on July 17, 2006. The band also recorded a video for the track. in physics, mathematics and physiology.
An important breakthrough in academic medicine occurred in the late eighteenth century because of the formulation of a new theory of disease, viz., the germ theory germ theory
Theory that certain diseases are caused by invasion of the body by microorganisms. Louis Pasteur, Joseph Lister, and Robert Koch are given much of the credit for its acceptance in the later 19th century. . When it was discovered that the cause of disease was often a bacterium, disease was no longer seen as a dysfunction between the individual and his constitution and the environment, but as an external agent carried through the environment and transmitted from individual to individual and thereby dispersed throughout the population (157). A consequence of the new germ theory and other discoveries was a switch from the ancient idea that hygiene or dietetics was concerned with the individual to a concern for the health of a population. As the author puts it: "In the ancient world the human constitution had been highly individual and thus the regimens . . . to be followed were always written for some particular person, never for a group or a class of people. In the previous chapter, the idea of common hygienic hy·gien·ic
1. Of or relating to hygiene.
2. Tending to promote or preserve health.
3. Sanitary. rules was introduced in the late eighteen th century and rapidly gained acceptance at the turn of the nineteenth century. The other important change in the late eighteenth-century hygienic literature was the new emphasis placed on the environment and its impact on the individual" (166-67). On the whole this is an excellent volume. It is crisply written and carefully documented.