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February 1964

Discoverers of Blood Circulation, From Aristotle to the Times of Da Vinci and Harvey.

Arch Intern Med. 1964;113(2):303. doi:10.1001/archinte.1964.00280080139031

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This very interesting book is not a history of the discovery of the circulation of the blood but a history of the discoverers. The historical backgrounds of the discoverers are given in such fascinating details that the reader, in the ensuing confusion, is apt to lose track of the discoverer himself. The achievements of the discoverers are presented in an interesting way, although the author has his favorites. Galen is obviously not one of these. Galen's medical controversies, his alleged boasting, and undoubted egotism are often stressed more than his great services to medical sciences—the father of experimental medicine. While Galen erred in describing interventricular foramina, recent studies have shown that he had a clear idea of the pulmonary circulation centuries before al Nafis and Colombo. Galen also, studying the close relationship between circulation and respiration, grasped the fact that air, supplied by the lungs, was necessary for the production

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