Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

"Passions & Tempers: a history of the humours" -- NYT - 070/8/07

Expand Messages
  • Michael Robinson
    Bad Medicine By SHERWIN B. NULAND Published: July 8, 2007 Noga Arikha s Passions and Tempers illustrates some of the rewards and some of the pitfalls of
    Message 1 of 2 , Jul 7, 2007
    • 0 Attachment
      Bad Medicine By SHERWIN B. NULAND
      Published: July 8, 2007

      Noga Arikha's "Passions and Tempers" illustrates some of the rewards
      and some of the pitfalls of historical scholarship. To Arikha's
      immense credit, she provides a thoroughly documented account of the
      ways in which a wrong-headed theory dominated medical thinking for
      more than 2,000 years, refusing to yield place at the bedside long
      after it had been proved erroneous by clear-eyed observation and the
      development of experimental science. One of Arikha's contributions to
      the general reader's knowledge, in fact, is to use the history of the
      humors — those bodily fluids once thought to hold the key to
      understanding human health and personality — to demonstrate the
      difficulty that physicians have always had in giving up outmoded ways
      of treating actual patients.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/08/books/review/Nuland.html?8bu=&emc=bu&pagewanted=all
    • Terry Foreman
      A very pertinent read, and nice graphic of the Four Humors (sic). Interesting that the shift of paradigm was prompted by the correction of anatomy, climaxing
      Message 2 of 2 , Jul 7, 2007
      • 0 Attachment
        A very pertinent read, and nice graphic of the Four Humors (sic).

        Interesting that the shift of paradigm was prompted by the correction of
        anatomy, climaxing with Harvey's grasp of circulation of the blood and the
        heart's pumping (sounds like an Hobbesian mechanism to me!). (Cf.. Dr.
        Burnett's ref of a Pepysian ulcer.)

        "The death knell of Galen’s authority had been sounded, and indeed the
        death knell of the acceptance of any form of technological authority not
        supported by the researcher’s own reproducible observations and the proofs
        that followed from them. The scientific method had been born. And yet, it
        would be almost three centuries before clinical physicians — though
        overwhelmed by evidence of its error — could bring themselves to forsake
        therapies based on the last vestiges of the theory of humors."

        The review does not record whether Arikha mentions that recently-popular
        Ayurveda medicine alternative medicine holds that "health exists when there
        is a balance between three fundamental bodily humours or doshas...."
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayurveda#Tridosha_System

        Back to the future.

        Thanks, Michael.

        Terry
        aka Terry F

        At 07:51 PM 7/7/2007 +0000, you wrote:
        >Bad Medicine By SHERWIN B. NULAND
        >Published: July 8, 2007
        >
        >Noga Arikha's "Passions and Tempers" illustrates some of the rewards
        >and some of the pitfalls of historical scholarship. To Arikha's
        >immense credit, she provides a thoroughly documented account of the
        >ways in which a wrong-headed theory dominated medical thinking for
        >more than 2,000 years, refusing to yield place at the bedside long
        >after it had been proved erroneous by clear-eyed observation and the
        >development of experimental science. One of Arikha's contributions to
        >the general reader's knowledge, in fact, is to use the history of the
        >humors — those bodily fluids once thought to hold the key to
        >understanding human health and personality — to demonstrate the
        >difficulty that physicians have always had in giving up outmoded ways
        >of treating actual patients.
        >
        >http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/08/books/review/Nuland.html?8bu=&emc=bu&pagewanted=all
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        >
      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.