William Harvey and the Mechanics of the Heart by Jole Shackelford

By Jole Shackelford

William Harvey is the riveting tale of a seventeenth-century guy of drugs and the medical revolution he sparked along with his outstanding discoveries approximately blood movement in the physique. Jole Shackelford strains Harvey's existence from his early days in Folkstone, England, to his examine of drugs in Padua via his upward thrust to courtroom surgeon to King James I and King Charles I, the place he had the chance to behavior his learn in human biology and body structure. Harvey's lecture notes convey that he believed within the function of the guts in move of blood via a closed procedure as early as 1615. but he waited thirteen years, till 1628, to submit his findings, while he felt safer at introducing an idea counter to ideals that have been held for centuries. A revealing examine the altering social, non secular, and political opinions of the time, William Harvey files how one man's originality helped introduce a brand new approach of engaging in medical experiments that we nonetheless use this day.

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Extra resources for William Harvey and the Mechanics of the Heart

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The position provided a residence, which was adjoined to the hospital, but it was occupied. Since he already lived conveniently close by, Harvey declined to use it and was later compensated with an increase in salary. In England, elite medicine studied in the universities and practiced oy physicians was professionally distinct from surgery, which was considered a craft and learned by apprenticeship. Physicians mainly concerned themselves with internal medicine, diagnosing disease and recommending treatment or adjusting patient's diet.

But in the eighth chapter he introduced a new idea: that the blood continually and normally circulates through the body. He claimed to have come to this realization while contemplating the sheer volume of blood that must be making the pulmonary transit with every beat. Where would all this blood go? Where could it all have come from? These questions, along with a rough calculation of the rate at which blood must be leaving the heart, formed the basis of his argument for circulation. Harvey laid the groundwork for his theory of circulation by defining the veins and arteries not as separate systems serving different physiological functions, but as vessels that move the blood toward the heart and away from the heart, respectively.

Harvey's research method into the heart and blood vessels was a continuation of Fabricius' research program and aimed to study the heart's function in relation to the animal as a whole, not solely the position and characteristics of human organs. Harvey sought to determine how the heart and the blood vessels functioned by means of comparative anatomy and vivisection, and he was strongly influenced by Aristotle's thinking that the function of a part should be in agreement with its structure, a point that Fabricius had emphasized, too.

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