The Human Body:Structure and Development[
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The Human Body: Structure and Development
• Anatomy is one of the cornerstones of a doctor’s medical education. Despite being a persistent portion of teaching from at least the renaissance, the format and the amount of information being taught has evolved and changed along with the demands of the profession. What is being taught today may differ in content significantly from the past but the methods used to teach this have not really changed that much.
• Prosection is the direction in which many current medical schools are heading in order to aid the teaching of anatomy and some argue that dissection is better.
• The study of anatomy begins at least as early as 1600 BCE, the date of the Edwin Smith Surgical Papyrus.
• This treatise shows that the heart, its vessels, liver, spleen, kidneys, hypothalamus, uterus and bladder were recognized, and that the blood vessels were known to emanate from the heart.
• Other vessels are described, some carrying air, some mucus, and two to the right ear are said to carry the "breath of life", while two to the left ear the "breath of death". The Ebers papyrus (c. 1550 BCE) features a treatise on the heart. It notes that the heart is the center of the blood supply, with vessels attached for every member of the body. The Egyptians seem to have known little about the function of the kidneys and made the heart the meeting point of a number of vessels which carried all the fluids of the body – blood, tears, urine and sperm.
• The earliest medical scientist of whose works any great part survives today is Hippocrates, a Greek physician active in the 460 - 377 BCE
• His work demonstrates a basic understanding of musculoskeletal structure, and the beginnings of understanding of the function of certain organs, such as the kidneys. Much of his work, however, and much of that of his students and followers later, relies on speculation rather than empirical observation of the body. One of the greatest achievements of Hippocrates was that he was the first to discover the tricuspid valve of the heart and its function which he documented in the treatise On the Heart in the Hippocratic Corpus.
• In the 4th century BCE, Aristotle and several contemporaries produced a more empirically founded system, based animal dissection.
• Around this time, Praxagoras is credited as the first to identify the difference between arteries and veins, and the relations between organs are described more accurately than in previous works.
• The first use of human cadavers for anatomical research occurred later in 4th BC when Herophilos and Erasistratus gained permission to perform live dissections, or vivisection, on criminals in Alexandria under the auspices of the Ptolemaic dynasty. Herophilos in particular developed a body of anatomical knowledge much more informed by the actual structure of the human body than previous works had been.
• Galen 2nd century.
compiled much of the knowledge obtained by previous writers
furthered the inquiry into the function of organs by performing vivisection on animals.
Due to a lack of readily available human specimens, discoveries through animal dissection were broadly applied to human anatomy as well.
His collection of drawings, based mostly on dog anatomy, became the anatomy textbook for 1500 years. The original text is long gone, and his work was only known to the Renaissance doctors through the careful custody of Arabic medicine.
• After the fall of the Roman Empire, the study of anatomy became stagnant in Christian Europe but flourished in the medieval Islamic world, where Muslim physicians and Muslim scientists contributed heavily to medieval learning and culture.
• The Persian physician Avicenna (980-1037) absorbed the Galenic teachings on anatomy and expanded on them in The Canon of Medicine (1020s), which was very influential throughout the Islamic world and Christian Europe. The Canon remained the most authoritative book on anatomy in the Islamic world until
• Ibn al-Nafis in the 13th century, though the book continued to dominate European medical education for even longer until the 16th century.
• The Arabian physician Ibn Zuhr (Avenzoar) (1091–1161) was the first physician known to have carried out human dissections and postmortem autopsy. He proved that the skin disease scabies was caused by a parasite, a discovery which upset the theory of humorism supported by Hippocrates and Galen. The removal of the parasite from the patient's body did not involve purging, bleeding, or any other traditional treatments associated with the four humours.
• In the 12th century, Saladin's physician Ibn Jumay was also one of the first to undertake human dissections, and he made an explicit appeal for other physicians to do so as well.
• During a famine in Egypt in 1200, Abd-el-latif observed and examined a large number of skeletons, and he discovered that Galen was incorrect regarding the formation of the bones of the lower jaw and sacrum
• Ibn al-Nafis
• The Arabian physician Ibn al-Nafis (1213–1288) was one of the earliest proponents of human dissection and postmortem autopsy, and in 1242, he was the first to describe the pulmonary circulation and coronary circulation of the blood, which form the basis of the circulatory system, for which he is considered the father of the theory of circulation.
• Ibn al-Nafis also described the earliest concept of metabolism, and developed new systems of anatomy and physiology to replace the Avicennian and Galenic doctrines, while discrediting many of their erroneous theories on the four humours, pulsation, bones, muscles, intestines, sensory organs, bilious canals, esophagus, stomach, and the anatomy of almost every other part of the human body.
• The works of Galen and Avicenna, especially The Canon of Medicine which incorporated the teachings of both, were translated into Latin, and the Canon remained the most authoritative text on anatomy in European medical education until the 16th century.
• The first major development in anatomy in Christian Europe, since the fall of Rome, occurred at Bologna in the 14th to 16th centuries, where a series of authors dissected cadavers and contributed to the accurate description of organs and the identification of their functions. Prominent among these anatomists were Mondino de Liuzzi and Alessandro Achillini
• The first challenges to the Galenic doctrine in Europe occurred in the 16th century. Thanks to the printing press, all over Europe a collective effort proceeded to circulate the works of Galen and Avicenna, and later publish criticisms on their works.
• Vesalius was the first to publish a treatise, De humani corporis fabrica, that challenged Galen "drawing for drawing" travelling all the way from Leuven to Padua for permission to dissect victims from the gallows without fear of persecution. His drawings are triumphant descriptions of the, sometimes major, discrepancies between dogs and humans, showing superb drawing ability. Many later anatomists challenged Galen in their texts, though Galen reigned supreme for another century.
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