Galen

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Aelius Galenus or Claudius Galenus (September AD 129 – 199/217; Greek: Γαληνός, Galēnos, from adjective "γαληνός", "calm"[1]), better known as Galen of Pergamon (modern-day Bergama, Turkey), was a prominent Roman (of Greek ethnicity) physician, surgeon and philosopher.[2][3][4] Arguably the most accomplished of all medical researchers of antiquity, Galen contributed greatly to the understanding of numerous scientific disciplines including anatomy,[5] physiology, pathology,[6] pharmacology,[7] and neurology, as well as philosophy,[8] and logic.

The son of Aelius Nicon, a wealthy architect with scholarly interests, Galen received a comprehensive education that prepared him for a successful career as a physician and philosopher. He traveled extensively, exposing himself to a wide variety of medical theories and discoveries before settling in Rome, where he served prominent members of Roman society and eventually was given the position of personal physician to several emperors.

Galen's understanding of anatomy and medicine were principally influenced by the then-current theory of humorism, as advanced by many ancient Greek physicians such as Hippocrates. His theories dominated and influenced Western medical science for nearly two millennia. His anatomical reports, based mainly on dissection of monkeys and pigs, remained uncontested until 1543, when printed descriptions and illustrations of human dissections were published in the seminal work De humani corporis fabrica by Andreas Vesalius.[9][10] Galen's theory of the physiology of the circulatory system endured until 1628, when William Harvey published his treatise entitled De motu cordis, in which he established that the blood circulates with the heart acting as a pump.[11][12] Medical students continued to study Galen's writings until well into the 19th century. Galen conducted many nerve ligation experiments that supported the theory, which is still believed today, that the brain controls all the motions of the muscles by means of the cranial and peripheral nervous systems.[13]

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