March 29, 1561|
Capodistria, Republic of Venice
|Died||February 22, 1636
Santorio Santorio (29 March 1561 – 22 February 1636 Venice), also called Sanctorio Sanctorio, Santorio Santorii, Sanctorius of Padua, and various combinations of these names, was an Italian physiologist, physician, and professor. He introduced the quantitative approach into medicine. His work De medicina statica influenced generations of physicians.
Santorio was born in Capodistria (today Koper), then part of the Republic of Venice. From 1611 to 1624 he was a professor at Padua where he performed experiments in temperature, respiration and weight. Sanctorius studied the so-called perspiratio insensibilis or insensible perspiration of the body, already known to Galen and ancient physicians, and originated the study of metabolism.
For a period of thirty years Santorio weighed himself, everything he ate and drank, as well as his urine and feces. He compared the weight of what he had eaten to that of his waste products, the latter being considerably smaller because for every eight pounds of food he ate, he excreted only 3 pounds of waste. This important experiment is the origin of the significance of weight measurement in medicine. While his experiments kept to be replicated and augmented by his followers and were finally surpassed by the ones of Lavoisier in 1790, he is still celebrated as the father of experimental physiology. The "weighing chair", which he constructed and employed during this experiment, is also famous.
Santorio also designed the clinical thermometer, which he introduced in his Sanctorii Sanctorii Commentaria in Artem medicinalem Galeni 1612. He invented also a device which he called the pulsilogium for measuring the pulse which was probably the first machine of precision in medical history. A century later another physician, de la Croix, used the pulsilogium to test cardiac function. Santorio also invented an early waterbed. In 1614, he wrote De statica medicina, a medical text that saw five publications through 1737.
- Pintar, Ivan (1925–1991 (printed ed.). 2009 (electronic ed.)). "Sanctorius Sanctorius". In Vide Ogrin, Petra (electronic ed.). Cankar, Izidor et al. (printed ed.). Slovenski biografski leksikon (in Slovenian). ISBN 978-961-268-001-5. Check date values in:
- Zupanič Slavec, Zvonka (2001). "Vpliv Santorijevih del na Dubrovčana Đura Armena Baglivija" [The Influence of Santorio Santorii on Đuro Armen Baglivi from Dubrovnik] (PDF). Medicinski razgledi (in Slovene and with an English summary) 40 (4): 443–450.
- Kuriyama, Shigehisa. "The Forgotten Fear of Excrement." Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies. (2008): n. page. Print.
- A project on Santorio Santorio and the Emergence of Quantifying Procedures in Medicine is currently hosted by the Centre for Medical History of the University of Exeter (UK)
- An introductory video on Santorio's life and works here
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