Tag Archives: William Harvey

Blood and hate: The anti-Semitic origin of the fabled first transfusion

Matthew Turner McChord, Washington, United States   Massacre of Jews woodcut. 1493. From L. Golding, The Jewish Problem, Penguin, 1938. Via Wikimedia. Public domain. Introduction It is a story often repeated in medical textbooks: in 1492, Innocent VIII lay dying. His physician attempted the first recorded blood transfusion, transfusing the blood of three children into […]

Jean-Baptiste de Sénac and his early textbook on cardiology

Göran Wettrell Lund, Sweden   Figure 1. Portrait of Jean-Baptiste de Sénac (1693-1770). Wellcome Library, London. William Harvey was an important figure in the early days of cardiovascular physiology. Based on meticulous observations, he published De Motu Cordis and Sanguinus in 1628 and has been proposed as the founder of physiology and cardiology.1 During the […]

Book review: The Origins of Modern Science

Arpan K. Banerjee Solihull, United Kingdom   Cover of The Origins of Modern Science: From Antiquity to the Scientific Revolution by Ofer Gal. Science and medicine have long been intertwined: many advances in the field of medicine would not have been possible without prior knowledge of fundamental science. It is not surprising, therefore, that a […]

The wayward Paracelsus

JMS Pearce East Yorks, England   Fig 1. Aureolus Philippus Theophrastus von Hohenheim (Paracelsus). Via Wikimedia. Alterius non sit qui suus esse potest Let no man be another’s who can be himself Paracelsus 1552   Paracelsus was the most original, controversial character of the Renaissance,1 who brazenly questioned and condemned the dictates of Galen and […]

Sir Geoffrey Langdon Keynes

JMS Pearce East Yorks, UK   Fig 1.  Sir Geoffrey Langdon Keynes. Reproduction after a pencil drawing by G. Shaw, 1957. Credit: Wellcome Collection.  (CC BY 4.0) Mention the name Keynes in Britain and most people think of the Buckinghamshire town Milton Keynes or the celebrated twentieth-century economist John Maynard Keynes. In the thirteenth century […]

William Harvey before King Charles I

In 1628 William Harvey published his classic work De Motu Cordis (Of the Motion of the Heart and Blood in Animals) demonstrating that the blood passed from the left ventricle to the capillaries at the periphery and back through the veins to the right side of the heart. He received many honors for his work, and […]

Experimental evidence for the humoral circulatory system

Mark A. Gray  Kansas City, Kansas   Four Humors from the Book of Alchemy by Thurn-Heisser, Leipzig, Germany (1574). Via Wikimedia. Public domain. Humoralism, otherwise known as Hellenistic or Galenic medicine, posited the existence of four humors that were required to be kept in balance to maintain health. Blood was special among these humors, believed […]

The past and future of blood banking

Eva Kitri Mutch Stoddart Saigon, Vietnam   Image from “Clysmatica nova: sive ratio, qua in venam sectam medicamenta immitti possint, ut eodem modo, ac si per os assumta fuissent, operentur: addita etiam omnibus seculis inaudita sanguinis transfusion,” Artist: Elsholtz, Johann Sigismund (1623–1688), 1667. Wellcome Collection. Public domain. Blood oozes allure. The elixir of life, viscous […]

Control of blood

E.C. Spary United Kingdom Figure 1. Blood spurting from the neck of a decapitated human sacrifice in this bas-relief on the wall of this Mayan temple at Chichen Itza (Yucatan, Mexico) transforms into snakes, indicating its connection to power, life and death. Blood, that vivid liquid within our bodies, has an attraction for human cultures […]

A history of blood transfusion: A confluence of science—in peace, in war, and in the laboratory

Kevin R. Loughlin Boston, Massachusetts   Figure 1- Blood Transfusions -WWI East Sussex. Photo from Wellcome Images.  Accessed October 15, 2019. The rudimentary lights provided only dim illumination of the operative field. The three British army surgeons worked feverishly to save the life of the young soldier, Corporal Smith, who had a significant liver injury. […]