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History of Physiology

Lester S. King, MD
JAMA. 1973;225(7):755. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03220340059040.
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There are many good histories of medicine, both brief general surveys and longer more detailed monographs. There are many good histories of medical specialties—pathology, cardiology, midwifery, urology, to name but a few. Physiology, however, has been relatively neglected. To be sure, there is an excellent anthology of readings in physiology, and good monographs on specific individuals who have contributed much to the discipline, but no general history of the subject in English. The German literature has fared much better, and Rothschuh's Geschichte der Physiologie, published in 1953, has long enjoyed an excellent reputation.

Now Rothschuh's History, in an updated form, has been made available to the English reader. Dr. Guenter Risse has made a workmanlike idiomatic translation. When we compare the English with the German, we can see a modest amount of actual addition, a few deletions, some transpositions, and other relatively minor changes. The biggest change is in the


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