19th-century knowledge about the body and disease
Causes of improvements in physiology and pathology
- The Industrial Revolution / inventions
- There was a general atmosphere of scientific research and advance.
- Louis Pasteur's first commission was to find a cure for sour wine, which set him off on his revolutionary course.
- Joseph Jackson Lister (Britain: 1826) invented the multi-lens microscope, which allowed doctors to see very tiny things accurately.
- Carl Ludwig (Germany: 1847) invented the kymograph, which allowed more accurate measurement of the pulse.
- Wilhelm Roentgen (Germany: 1895) discovered x-rays.
- Willem Einthoven (Holland: 1900) invented the electrocardiograph (measured heart activity).
- Scientific knowledge
- Jan Purkinje (Czechoslovakia: 1836) set up the first university department of physiology (science of how the body works).
- Louis Pasteur started as a research chemist. He set up a team of researchers at the Pasteur Institute (1888).
- Robert Koch developed his Postulates of how researchers should find a disease. These led to four basic procedures - make sure the germ in question is present in the sick specimen - grow a culture of that germ - inject it into a healthy specimen - see if the disease develops.
- Social factors
- Nationalism - eg the rivalry of Pasteur and Koch. Shibasaburo Kitasato (Japan) and Alexandre Yersin (France) raced to discover the plague bacterium in 1894.
- The deaths of his two daughters motivated Louis Pasteur to redouble his efforts in the fight against disease.
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