Bernardino Ramazzini

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Bernardino Ramazzini
Bernardino Ramazzini
Born(1633-10-04)4 October 1633
Died5 November 1714(1714-11-05) (aged 81)
Alma materUniversity of Parma
Known forcinchona, occupational medicine
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Modena, University of Padua

Bernardino Ramazzini (Italian pronunciation: [bernarˈdino ramat'tsini]; 4 October 1633 – 5 November 1714) was an Italian physician.

Ramazzini, along with Francesco Torti, was an early proponent of the use of cinchona bark (from which quinine is derived) in the treatment of malaria. His most important contribution to medicine was his book on occupational diseases, De Morbis Artificum Diatriba ("Diseases of Workers").[1]


Ramazzini was born in Carpi on 4 October 1633 according to his birth certificate.[2] He studied medicine at the University of Parma, where his interest in occupational diseases began.[citation needed][3]


He was appointed to the chair of theory of medicine at University of Modena in 1682 then served as professor of medicine at the University of Padua from 1700 until his death. He is often called "the father of occupational medicine" [4][5]

The first edition of De Morbis was published in 1700 in Modena, the second in 1713 in Padua.

Occupational medicine[edit]

Frontpage of the definitive 1713 edition of the Diatriba
From the presentation given in occasion of the tercentenary of Ramazzini's death – Padua and São Paulo, 2015
List of occupations - From the presentation given at the Ramazzini Days, Carpi, 2000

His book on occupational diseases, De Morbis Artificum Diatriba (Diseases of Workers) outlined the health hazards of chemicals, dust, metals, repetitive or violent motions, odd postures, and other disease-causative agents encountered by workers in more than fifty occupations.[6] This was one of the founding and seminal works of occupational medicine and played a substantial role in its development.[4] [5]

He proposed that physicians should extend the list of questions that Hippocrates recommended they ask their patients by adding, "What is your occupation?".[4]

Ramazzini saw prevention as being better than cure. In his Oratio given in 1711, he suggested that "it is much better to prevent than to cure, and so much easier to foresee future harm and avoid it rather than have to get rid of it after having fallen prey".[citation needed]


In regards to malaria, Ramazzini was one of the first to support the use of the quinine-rich bark cinchona. Many falsely claimed that quinine was toxic and ineffective, but Ramazzini recognized its importance. He is quoted, "It [quinine] did for medicine what gun powder did for war."[7]


In 1713, Bernardino Ramazzini said that nuns developed breast cancer at a higher rate than married women, because they did not engage in sexual intercourse, and the "unnatural" lack of sexual activity caused instability of the breast tissues that sometimes developed into breast cancer.[8]


Ramazzini died in Padua on 5 November 1714.[5] [9]


In a lifestyle article "Sitting can lead to an early death," the writer acknowledged Ramazzini's pioneering study of this field in the 17th century.[10]

The honor society Collegium Ramazzini is named after him.


  1. ^ Ramazzini, Bernardino (1 September 2001). "De Morbis Artificum Diatriba [Diseases of Workers]". American Journal of Public Health. 91 (9): 1380–1382. doi:10.2105/AJPH.91.9.1380. ISSN 0090-0036. PMC 1446785. PMID 11527762.
  2. ^ "Ethical values and virtues of the Diatriba. A tribute to Bernardino Ramazzini on the tercentenary of his death (1714)". Retrieved 25 July 2017.
  3. ^ Pope, Malcolm H. (2004). "Bernardino Ramazzini: The Father of Occupational Medicine:". Spine. 29 (20): 2335–2338. doi:10.1097/01.brs.0000142437.70429.a8. ISSN 0362-2436.
  4. ^ a b c Gochfeld, Michael (February 2005). "Chronologic history of occupational medicine". Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. 47 (2): 96–114. doi:10.1097/01.jom.0000152917.03649.0e. ISSN 1076-2752. PMID 15706170. S2CID 35548035. Gochfeld, Michael (2005). "Chronologic history of occupational medicine" (PDF). Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. 47 (2): 96–114. doi:10.1097/01.jom.0000152917.03649.0e. PMID 15706170. S2CID 35548035. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 September 2006. Retrieved 3 March 2009. A PDF copy of the article.
  5. ^ a b c Ramazzini, Bernardino (1 September 2001). "VOICES FROM THE PAST – De Morbis Artificum Diatriba (Diseases of Workers)". Am J Public Health. 91 (9): 1380–1382. doi:10.2105/AJPH.91.9.1380. PMC 1446785. PMID 11527762. The article contains excerpts from the English translation by Wilmer Cave Wright (Chicago: University of Chicago Press; 1940) based on the Latin text of 1713, and includes a biographical note, Bernardino Ramazzini: The Father of Occupational Medicine, by Giuliano Franco, MD and Francesca Franco MD, MPH
  6. ^ Cockayne, Emily (2007). Hubbub: Filth Noise & Stench in England. Yale University Press. p. 61. ISBN 978-0-300-13756-9.
  7. ^ Poser, Charles M; Bruyn, GW (1999). An illustrated history of malaria. New York: Parthenon Publishing. ISBN 978-1-85070-068-5. OCLC 40354694.
  8. ^ Olson, James Stuart (2002). Bathsheba's breast: women, cancer & history. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 32–33. ISBN 978-0-8018-6936-5.
  9. ^ "History". Collegium Ramazzini. Retrieved 3 March 2009. History (of Occupational Medicine) with notes on the life of Ramazzini.
  10. ^ Han, Esther (28 March 2012) Sitting can lead to an early death. Sydney Morning Herald


External links[edit]