Living in a Revolution

This short history brings us only to the threshold of modern biomedical science; it stops short of such momentous discoveries as the germ theory of disease, the mechanisms of heredity, and the structure of DNA. In the twentieth century, basic biology and biochemistry have given us a much deeper understanding of how the body works. Technological advances such as medical imaging (see insight 1.5, p. 22) have enhanced our diagnostic ability and life-support strategies. We have witnessed monumental developments in chemotherapy, immunization, anesthesia, surgery, organ transplants, and human genetics. By the close of the twentieth century, we had discovered the chemical "base sequence" of every human gene and begun using gene therapy to treat children born with diseases recently considered incurable. As future historians look back on the turn of this century, they may exult about the Genetic Revolution in which you are now living.

Several discoveries of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and the men and women behind them, are covered in short historical sketches in later chapters. Yet, the stories told in this chapter are different in a significant way. The people discussed here were pioneers in establishing the scientific way of thinking. They helped to replace superstition with an appreciation of natural law. They bridged the chasm between mystery and medication. Without this intellectual revolution, those who followed could not have conceived of the right questions to ask, much less a method for answering them.

Before You Go On

Answer the following questions to test your understanding of the preceding section:

  1. In what way did the followers of Galen disregard his advice? How does Galen's advice apply to you?
  2. Describe two ways in which Vesalius improved medical education and set standards that remain relevant today.
  3. How is our concept of human form and function today affected by inventors from Leeuwenhoek to Zeiss?

Saladin: Anatomy & I 1. Major Themes of I Text I I © The McGraw-Hill

Physiology: The Unity of Anatomy and Physiology Companies, 2003 Form and Function, Third Edition

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Essentials of Human Physiology

Essentials of Human Physiology

This ebook provides an introductory explanation of the workings of the human body, with an effort to draw connections between the body systems and explain their interdependencies. A framework for the book is homeostasis and how the body maintains balance within each system. This is intended as a first introduction to physiology for a college-level course.

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