Cover image for Medicine's 10 greatest discoveries
Medicine's 10 greatest discoveries
Friedman, Meyer, 1910-
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Publication Information:
New Haven, Conn : Yale University Press, [1998]

Physical Description:
xiii, 263 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Andreas Vesalius and modern human anatomy -- William Harvey and the circulation of blood -- Antony Leeuwenhock and bacteria -- Edward Jenner and vaccination -- Crawford Long and surgical anesthesia -- Wilhelm Roentgen and the x-ray beam -- Ross Harrison and tissue culture -- Nikolai Anichkov and cholesterol -- Alexander Fleming and antibiotics -- Maurice Wilkins and DNA -- Concluding thoughts.
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R145 .F75 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
R145 .F75 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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In 1675, Antony van Leeuwenhoek, an unlearned haberdasher from Delft, placed a drop of rainwater under his microscope and detected thousands of tiny animals in it. Leeuwenhoek proceeded to examine the microscopic activity of his spitle, teeth plaque, and faeces, and as a result of his findings the field of bacteriology was born. Some 200 years later, Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen, a professor of theoretical physics at the University of Wurzburg, invited his wife to his laboratory, asked her to place her hand on an unexposed photographic plate, turned on an electric current, and showed her a picture of the bones of her hand - and so came the X-ray. This text describes these and eight other medical discoveries throughout history, bringing to life the scientific pioneers responsible for them and the excitement, frustrations and jealousies that surrounded the final achievements.

Author Notes

Meyer Friedman, 1910 - 2001 Meyer Friedman is best known for his work in linking behavior to health hazards, more specifically the Type A Behavior, which conclusively leads to heart attacks. Friedman earned his Bachelor's Degree from Yale and his Doctorate from Johns Hopkins. His best known work is entitled "Type A Behavior and Your Heart", which he co-wrote with Dr. Ray H. Rosenman.

Dr. Friedman was himself of the Type A Behavior, yet knowing this tried to become more like the Type B Behavior to possibly save his own life. He had suffered two heart attacks in his lifetime, as well as two coronary bypass surgeries. Friedman insisted that his theory was behavioral and not personality because it could be changed. If a person with Type A Behavior wished to avoid heart attacks, then they could attempt to change the way they behaved. Type A is described as a person who gets angry easily, works too hard and generally lives life at an exceeded rate of time. Type B is described as easy going and relaxed, less prone to heart attacks. This discovery became a household phrase and also led the way for more research into cardiology and ways to prevent heart attacks.

Besides his revolutionary theory, Friedman also performed research at an institute named for him at Mount Zion Medical Center in San Francisco. He made discoveries in gout, cholesterol production and the psychological events that take place during a heart attack. He will be remembered always as a major figure in the research of cardiovascular disease.

Meyer Friedman died April 27, 2001, in San Francisco. He was 90 years old.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

A choice of the top ten of any category runs the risk of bias, but there is little objection to Friedman and Friedland's list: 1) rescue of anatomy from authoritarian ignorance, 2) circulation of blood, 3) recognition of bacteria (and viruses) as causes of disease, 4) the protective power of immunization, 5) surgical anesthesia, 6) discovery of X-rays, 7) tissue culture, 8) diet and arteriosclerosis, 9) antibiotics, and 10) structure of DNA. Of these, the cholesterol story is perhaps the weakest choice, but surely more controversy would follow if a replacement were offered (see chapter 11). The best deserved because it is not well known is Harrison's discovery of tissue culture. Nevertheless, a serious error is perpetrated in this book, designed as one of historical revelation, viz.: ". . . the arteries of a corpse never contain blood. . . ." Several thousand autopsies by this reviewer tell otherwise; even exsanguination after major arterial trauma leaves some arterial blood behind in other body compartments. Large arteries are elastic, but this is not enough in death to force all of the blood from them; by contrast there is fluid movement along the great veins to the lungs, and postmortem pulmonary edema is well described if poorly known. Minus this point, an engaging, interesting book. All levels. D. R. Shanklin University of Chicago

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
1 Andreas Vesalius and Modern Human Anatomyp. 1
2 William Harvey and the Circulation of Bloodp. 18
3 Antony Leeuwenhoek and Bacteriap. 37
4 Edward Jenner and Vaccinationp. 65
5 Crawford Long and Surgical Anesthesiap. 94
6 Wilhelm Roentgen and the X-ray Beamp. 115
7 Ross Harrison and Tissue Culturep. 133
8 Nikolai Anichkov and Cholesterolp. 153
9 Alexander Fleming and Antibioticsp. 168
10 Maurice Wilkins and DNAp. 192
11 Concluding Thoughtsp. 228
Notesp. 237
Indexp. 247