Santorio Santorio

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Santorio Santorio
Born (1561-03-29)March 29, 1561
Capodistria, Republic of Venice
Died February 22, 1636(1636-02-22) (aged 74)
Nationality Italian

Santorio Santorio (29 March 1561 – 22 February 1636 Venice),[1] 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 and, as his pupil, introduced the mechanistic principles of Galileo Galilei to medicine. His work De medicina statica influenced generations of physicians.[2]

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 what he termed insensible perspiration 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.[3] He produced his theory of insensible perspiration as an attempt to account for this difference. His findings had little scientific value, but he is still celebrated for his empirical methodology. The "weighing chair", which he constructed and employed during this experiment, is also famous.

He is credited with the design of the clinical thermometer, which he introduced in his Sanctorii Sanctorii Commentaria in primam fen primi libri Canonis Avicennae, a commentary on Avicenna's The Canon of Medicine. He invented a device which he called the pulsilogium for measuring the pulse which was the first machine system 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.


  1. ^ 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: |date= (help)
  2. ^ Zupanič Slavec, Zvonka (2001). "Vpliv Santorijevih del na Dubrovčana Đura Armena Baglivija" [The Influence of Santorio Santorii on Đuro Armen Baglivi from Dubrovnik]. Medicinski razgledi (in Slovene, with an English summary) 40 (4): 443-450. 
  3. ^ Kuriyama, Shigehisa. "The Forgotten Fear of Excrement." Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies. (2008): n. page. Print.

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