The year 2023 marks the 300th anniversary of the death of Antonio Maria Valsalva (1666–1723). Valsalva was a leading physician across the 17th and 18th centuries, specifically for his focus on experimental physiology, the science dealing with the normal functioning of bodily organs as a basis for a better understanding of diseases, symptoms, and care. He used a top-down systematic approach typical of the Enlightenment, rather than a heuristic one (“trial-and-error”), which became feasible after the longlasting ban on dissecting human corpses was lifted. Valsalva’s main interest was exploring the complex structure of the human ear, to which he dedicated a specific treatise, De Aure Humana. He understood the issues inherent in the imbalance in pressure between the outer and inner ear and found ways to exploit it to get rid of purulent fluid by deliberately raising the inside pressure with his maneuver. Time was however not yet ripe to see the broader importance that the Valsalva maneuver would achieve, not just in otorhinolaryngology, but also in cardiology and other fields of medicine. Although Valsalva’s name is usually associated with his maneuver, his contributions to the history of medicine were broader: he discovered several anatomical parts (i.e., the sinuses of Valsalva), built the basis for the development of pathological anatomy, introduced advances in surgery, and promoted compassionate care of patients affected by mental diseases. NEW & NOTEWORTHY Antonio Maria Valsalva (1666–1723) was a pioneer in experimental physiology between the 17th and 18th centuries. The Valsalva maneuver is still a popular academic topic and has broad applications not only in physiology research, but also in the diagnosis and therapy of various diseases. The celebration of 300 years from his death could be a timely occasion to commemorate the scientific works of this illustrious scientist.

Forcieri, S., Beretta, E., Riva, M. (2022). The birth of experimental physiology. ADVANCES IN PHYSIOLOGY EDUCATION, 46(4), 593-597 [10.1152/advan.00126.2022].

The birth of experimental physiology

Beretta, E;Riva, MA
2022

Abstract

The year 2023 marks the 300th anniversary of the death of Antonio Maria Valsalva (1666–1723). Valsalva was a leading physician across the 17th and 18th centuries, specifically for his focus on experimental physiology, the science dealing with the normal functioning of bodily organs as a basis for a better understanding of diseases, symptoms, and care. He used a top-down systematic approach typical of the Enlightenment, rather than a heuristic one (“trial-and-error”), which became feasible after the longlasting ban on dissecting human corpses was lifted. Valsalva’s main interest was exploring the complex structure of the human ear, to which he dedicated a specific treatise, De Aure Humana. He understood the issues inherent in the imbalance in pressure between the outer and inner ear and found ways to exploit it to get rid of purulent fluid by deliberately raising the inside pressure with his maneuver. Time was however not yet ripe to see the broader importance that the Valsalva maneuver would achieve, not just in otorhinolaryngology, but also in cardiology and other fields of medicine. Although Valsalva’s name is usually associated with his maneuver, his contributions to the history of medicine were broader: he discovered several anatomical parts (i.e., the sinuses of Valsalva), built the basis for the development of pathological anatomy, introduced advances in surgery, and promoted compassionate care of patients affected by mental diseases. NEW & NOTEWORTHY Antonio Maria Valsalva (1666–1723) was a pioneer in experimental physiology between the 17th and 18th centuries. The Valsalva maneuver is still a popular academic topic and has broad applications not only in physiology research, but also in the diagnosis and therapy of various diseases. The celebration of 300 years from his death could be a timely occasion to commemorate the scientific works of this illustrious scientist.
Articolo in rivista - Articolo scientifico
History; Modern age; Physiology; Respiratory physiology;
English
25-ago-2022
2022
46
4
593
597
none
Forcieri, S., Beretta, E., Riva, M. (2022). The birth of experimental physiology. ADVANCES IN PHYSIOLOGY EDUCATION, 46(4), 593-597 [10.1152/advan.00126.2022].
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10281/391597
Citazioni
  • Scopus 2
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 0
Social impact