This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.
The movement from anatomic research to experimental physiology, so important for modern medicine, began in the 17th century. However, the intellectual and institutional conditions were not right for the establishment of an independent experimental physiology methodologically based in vivisection and chemistry until the late 18th century in France.
John E. Lesch describes how the threads of experimental physiology created by Harvey, Mayow, Hunter, Haller, and others were woven into whole cloth through the efforts of Bichat, Magendie, Bernard, and their associates. Xavier Bichat developed a bipartite physiology. The first part grew out of traditional theoretical concerns about general biologic ideas, while the second was rooted in surgical skills and animal experiments. After Bichat's death, his student François Magendie continued his vivi-sectional work, combining it with the new critical pharmacology and its reliance on chemistry. This not only allowed breakthroughs in the physiology of poisons but also stimulated advances in pharmacology,
Walton MT. Science and Medicine in France: The Emergence of Experimental Physiology, 1790-1855. JAMA. 1984;252(24):3423. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03350240067055
Coronavirus Resource Center
Customize your JAMA Network experience by selecting one or more topics from the list below.
Create a personal account or sign in to: