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September 1969

Galen's System of Physiology and Medicine.

Author Affiliations

Reseda, Calif

Arch Intern Med. 1969;124(3):387-388. doi:10.1001/archinte.1969.00300190127025

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Galen is not read for pleasure. To redact the 22 volume Kuehn edition of the redundant and often contradictory galenic canon is a prodigious and mind-numbing labor. This book, first of what may become a series, is a faithful rendering of that labor.

Siegel packages Galen's pneumatic physiology for us in the modern organ-by-organ fashion. Unhappily, this compels the reader to suffer merciless repetition of terms and definitions, while Galen's thought is forced to answer to contemporary certainties. Thus, Ancient One is scored "Right" on body heat and on wine-damage to the spleen; "Wrong" on the direction of venous flow and on air in the heart. His priority in spinal cord studies, myogenic heart beat, and insensible perspiration is given its due, but he loses points for right answer, wrong method on the secretogogic function of gastrin. Future studies in genetics are invoked to grant him partial credit on the

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