Development of anatomic science in the late Middle Ages: the role played by Mondino de Luzzi and Guido de Vigevano
Department of Neurosurgery, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit Medical Center, Detroit, Michigan 48201, USA. Neurosurgery
(Impact Factor: 3.62).
10/2009; 65(4):787-93; discussion 793-4. DOI: 10.1227/01.NEU.0000324991.45949.E4
Medical historians generally consider anatomic science, as we know it today, to have been established through the pioneering work of Vesalius during the Renaissance. Although this is largely true, detailed assessment of the scientific advances made in the late Middle Ages, though not as spectacular as those made during the Renaissance period, did pave the way and form a foundation for subsequent progress. During the two centuries of AD 1300 to 1500, several worthwhile advances occurred. Many universities, centers of learning excellence, were established throughout Europe, most notably in Italy. King Frederick II, the Holy Roman Emperor, established guidelines for medical education and practice that seem to parallel current regulations. Human cadaveric dissection was performed, after a hiatus of over 1700 years, as the foundation for the study of anatomy. Observation of human dissection became a requirement for medical students. A manual for anatomic dissection was written, printed, and published for the first time in history by Mondino de Liuzzi. His student, Guido da Vigevano, who also had an engineering background, established two "firsts" of his own: providing illustrations of anatomy and designing the first automobile in history. The authors believe that the contributions of these two key anatomists in the late Middle Ages should not be forgotten.
Available from: Hassan Nooman Sallam
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ABSTRACT: Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564) was a master anatomist as well as an artistic genius. He dissected cadavers numerous times and developed a profound understanding of human anatomy. From 1508 to 1512, Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome. His Sistine Chapel frescoes are considered one of the monumental achievements of Renaissance art. In the winter of 1511, Michelangelo entered the final stages of the Sistine Chapel project and painted 4 frescoes along the longitudinal apex of the vault, which completed a series of 9 central panels depicting scenes from the Book of Genesis. It is reported that Michelangelo concealed an image of the brain in the first of these last 4 panels, namely, the Creation of Adam. Here we present evidence that he concealed another neuronanatomic structure in the final panel of this series, the Separation of Light From Darkness, specifically a ventral view of the brainstem. The Separation of Light From Darkness is an important panel in the Sistine Chapel iconography because it depicts the beginning of Creation and is located directly above the altar. We propose that Michelangelo, a deeply religious man and an accomplished anatomist, intended to enhance the meaning of this iconographically critical panel and possibly document his anatomic accomplishments by concealing this sophisticated neuroanatomic rendering within the image of God.
Neurosurgery 05/2010; 66(5):851-61; discussion 860-1. DOI:10.1227/01.NEU.0000368101.34523.E1 · 3.62 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The Late Medieval Period was a decisive period in the history of medicine. It was then that medical education was integrated into the universities that were coming into existence and when medicine made its transition from a menial trade to a regulated profession with a statutory basis of learning and graduation. It was also then that the necessities of understanding the fabric of the body was realized; for the first time in history, the study of anatomy and of human dissection were incorporated into the medical curriculum. This was a defining change whose subsequent expansion and evolution would bring about the study of function (physiology) and changes in disease (pathology). Few advances were made in the study of the kidney, which was considered part of the venous circulation, whose function was subservient to that of nutrition in eliminating excess fluid. Uroscopy flourished and reached unrealistic levels of dominance in the diagnosis, treatment, and prognostication of any and all diseases, especially in the hands of quacks and charlatans. Alchemy, a mysterious pseudo-science, blossomed into a discipline that nurtured experimentation and laid the rudimentary foundations of scientific study, chemistry, and pharmacology. It was also then that surgery took form as a specialty that actually provided much of the medical care of the period including that of the principal diseases of the kidney, obstruction and calculi, and thereby laid the foundations of what in time would become urology.
Seminars in Dialysis 06/2012; 25(5):550-9. DOI:10.1111/j.1525-139X.2012.01088.x · 1.75 Impact Factor
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