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August 5, 1933

Opuscula selecta Neerlandicorum de arte medica.

JAMA. 1933;101(6):471-472. doi:10.1001/jama.1933.02740310055036

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Abstract

This volume of republications with translations of Netherlandish medical classics brings contributions illustrating the history of the doctrine of vitalism in medicine. Samples of writings on vitalism by three Netherlandish physicians are reprinted in the original Latin or Dutch and in German translations: Johannes Baptista van Helmont, Hieronymus Davidus Gaubius, and J. L. C. Schroeder van der Kolk.

J. B. van Helmont (1577-1644), the founder of the iatrochemical school in medicine, was a pioneer student of gases. He is said to have used first the word "gas." He held that each physiologic process is due to a special gas which is governed by a special spirit under the supreme guidance of a sensory-motive soul ("bias"). He expressed certain original ideas about immunity and has been credited with the following happy anticipatory pronouncement of the properties of convalescent serum in infections: "For he who has once recovered from that disease has

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