Ancient Rome’s most notorious doctor – Ramon Glazov

Ancient Rome’s most notorious doctor – Ramon Glazov


In the middle of the 16th century, a talented young anatomist named Andreas
Vesalius made a shocking discovery: the most famous human anatomy texts in
the world were wrong. They not only failed to account for many
details of the human body, they also described the organs of apes
and other mammals. While Vesalius knew he was right, announcing these errors would mean
challenging Galen of Pergamon– the most renowned physician
in medical history. But who was this towering figure? And why did doctors working more than
1,300 years later so revere and fear him? Born in 129 CE, Galen left home as a teen to scour the
Mediterranean for medical wisdom. He returned home a gifted surgeon with a
passion for anatomy and a penchant for showmanship. He gleefully entered public anatomy
contests, eager to show up his fellow physicians. In one demonstration, he caused a pig to lose its voice by tying
off one of its nerves. In another, he disemboweled a monkey and
challenged his colleagues to repair it. When they couldn’t, he did. These grizzly feats won him a position as
surgeon to the city’s gladiators. Eventually, he would leave the arena
to become the personal physician to four Roman Emperors. While his peers debated symptoms and
their origins, Galen obsessively studied anatomy. He was convinced that each organ had a
specific function. Since the Roman government largely
prohibited working with human cadavers, Galen conducted countless dissections
of animals instead. Even with this constraint, his exhaustive investigations yielded
some remarkably accurate conclusions. One of Galen’s most important
contributions was the insight that the brain,
not the heart, controlled the body. He confirmed this theory by opening the
cranium of a living cow. By applying pressure to different
parts of the brain, he could link various regions
to specific functions. Other experiments allowed him to
distinguish sensory from motor nerves, establish that urine was
made in the kidneys, and deduce that respiration was
controlled by muscles and nerves. But these wild experiments also produced
extraordinary misconceptions. Galen never realized that blood cycles
continuously throughout the body. Instead, he believed the liver constantly
produces an endless supply of blood, which gets entirely depleted on its
one-way trip to the organs. Galen is also credited with solidifying
the popular theory of the Four Humours. Introduced by Hippocrates
centuries earlier, this misguided hypothesis attributed most
medical problems to an imbalance in four bodily fluids
called humours. To correct the balance of these fluids,
doctors employed dangerous treatments like bloodletting and purging. Informed by his poor understanding
of the circulatory system, Galen was a strong proponent
of these treatments, despite their sometimes lethal
consequences. Unfortunately, Galen’s ego
drove him to believe that all his discoveries were
of the utmost importance. He penned treatises on everything from
anatomy to nutrition to bedside manner, meticulously cataloguing his writings
to ensure their preservation. Over the next 13 centuries, Galen’s prolific collection dominated
all other schools of medical thought. His texts became the standard works
taught to new generations of doctors, who in turn, wrote new essays extolling
Galen’s ideas. Even doctors who actually dissected
human cadavers would bafflingly repeat Galen’s mistakes, despite seeing clear evidence
to the contrary. Meanwhile, the few practitioners bold
enough to offer conflicting opinions were either ignored or ridiculed. For 1,300 years, Galen’s legacy
remained untouchable– until renaissance anatomist Vesalius
spoke out against him. As a prominent scientist and lecturer, his authority influenced many young
doctors of his time. But even then, it took another
hundred years for an accurate description
of blood flow to emerge, and two hundred more for the theory
of the Four Humours to fade. Hopefully, today we can reap the benefits
of Galen’s experiments without attributing equal credence
to his less accurate ideas. But perhaps just as valuable is the reminder that science is an
ever-evolving process, which should always place
evidence above ego.

100 Replies to “Ancient Rome’s most notorious doctor – Ramon Glazov”

  1. Indian philosophy interpreted by western indologists through the lens of Christianity is exactly in this situation.

  2. Do I see Galen or a weasel?

    Explanation: An actor once mispronounced "γαλην' ορω" (I see calm [waters]) as "γαλην ορω" (I see a weasel). Galen's name means "calm".

  3. Patent: Hey doc, i got this funny itch on my toe
    Doc: FOUR MONTHS OF PURGES FOR YOU, and BLOODLETTING
    Patent: uhhh, thanks doc, I guess

  4. Alchemy: the science of understanding, deconstructing, and reconstructing matter. However, it is not an all-powerful art. It is impossible to create something out of nothing. If one wishes to obtain something, something of equal value must be given. This is the law of equivalent exchange; the basis of all alchemy. In accordance to this law, there is a taboo among alchemists. Human transmutation is strictly forbidden. For what could equal the value of a human soul?

    #fullmetalalchemist #fma

  5. Is CE the same year as AD? That's kinda what it sounds like on Google maybe? It sounds like a religious thing? I'm totally trendy, and I'm one of the top 50 hashtaggers on twitter, but I didn't want to give my friend(who is asking) anything short of the most fabulous of answers. Ofc I know the answer to this, I am very smart, so no rude comments, tnx👋😊

  6. I don't think Galen invented therapeutic blood-letting, purging and so on, but his support contributed to its popularity. It continued in the West after the humoral theory fell out of fashion, into living memory. Old science sometimes lives on as folk wisdom, so even today it has not died out.

    People here mention Walter Freeman's advocacy of lobotomy for schizophrenia, which was all the rage in the USA before the introduction chlorpromazine, but I wonder whether more were not killed by the open air treatment for tuberculosis, which faded out only a little before, or the more technical procedures of artificial pneumothorax and even pneumo-peritoneum, which aimed to "rest" the affected organs. Mentioning "rest" reminds me that some claim that enforced bed rest (advocated by a Dr Hilton?) probably killed more old people (through thrombosis and pulmonary embolism) than the conditions they had first.

    A more recent example of how our ideas have changed is gastric and duodenal ulcers. Up to the 1970s there was a whole host of medicines, including bismuth salts, and several increasingly complex surgical procedures, all of limited efficacy and with troublesome side-effects. Then cimetidine was introduced to curb stomach acid production, and followed by a series of other drugs aiming to do so more effectively. Fibre-optic endoscopy became all the rage at the same time. But we have, painfully and reluctantly, now been persuaded that the ulcers are due to infection by the bacterium Helicobacter pylori and the answer is a cocktail of antibiotics, along sometimes with bismuth.

    So the conclusion must be that we need to remain sceptical of all theories, even when they seem to agree with our current practice. Sydenham (the "English Hippocrates") said something along these lines.

  7. He only had to read Sushruta Samhita written in 800 BC, centuries before he was even born, by allegedly the first surgeon in the history of humanity- Sushruta (Indian). I wish information/books were as widely available during his time as it is now.

  8. Good to see some medical history videos. I feel it's one of those sciences whose history is not that much shed light on.

  9. Politics, money, power, and the BS of academia still hinder science to this day. A lot of sycophants could learn something by this historical example.

  10. Indian system of medicine (Ayurveda) explained that blood is pumped by the heart (may be before 3 thousand year back)

  11. You forgot to mention that all his original texts are lost and had to be retransmitted via arabic and we don’t even know his real name (Galen is a corruption of an Arabic name for him)

  12. You forgot to mention that all his original texts are lost and had to be retransmitted via arabic and we don’t even know his real name (Galen is a corruption of an Arabic name for him)

  13. They say science should come before ego. But in the end it's too hard to buck the system and the patronage in that system. Galen was just the first of a long line of people idolized by his successors who always seemed to forget he got what little knowledge he had by the scientific method – experimentation and observation. This cult of personality is not a trend that was discarded in the Renaissance or the Enlightenment. It continues to this day and will likely continue some generations yet. It will always persist in part because it's too easy to believe people in earlier generations are stupider than they were or that people today are somehow inherently smarter for the good fortune to be born in this modern era.

  14. Yeah that's why they called it practicing medicine morons with the piece of paper to convince you you're sick and they have something help you with it just think of laudanum that wasn't too many centuries ago

  15. You really have no idea about indian hypothesis and the records that we hold since thousands of years. The contribution of India to science just changed my mind and i still wonder about our world that how difficult it was to welcome such aspects of life and instead how precisely we figured such discoveries

  16. Organs are the :lungs, heart, stomach, liver,gallbladder, brain, spinal cord, small intestine, large intestine (colon), kidneys and bladder. I also know all kinds of systems in the body and functions of each system and organ.

  17. You get to learn so many things from watching these kind of videos. I learn to relax by listening to the narrator’s voice

  18. Science does the EXACT same thing today…watch how quick a scientist get his grant pulled and blackballed professionally if he doesn't go along with the status quo…

  19. Galen's theory of the physiology of the circulatory system remained unchallenged until ca. 1242, when Ibn al-Nafis published his book Sharh tashrih al-qanun li’ Ibn Sina (Commentary on Anatomy in Avicenna's Canon), in which he reported his discovery of the pulmonary circulation.

  20. Galen's theory of the physiology of the circulatory system remained unchallenged until ca. 1242, when Ibn al-Nafis published his book Sharh tashrih al-qanun li’ Ibn Sina (Commentary on Anatomy in Avicenna's Canon), in which he reported his discovery of the pulmonary circulation.

  21. Galen's theory of the physiology of the circulatory system remained unchallenged until ca. 1242, when Ibn al-Nafis published his book Sharh tashrih al-qanun li’ Ibn Sina (Commentary on Anatomy in Avicenna's Canon), in which he reported his discovery of the pulmonary circulation.

  22. Galen would have had an immortal legacy if Rome let him study actual humans instead of using other mammals .
    It's like having someone who has only ever had permission to work on and study big rig Diesels. To explain how a super Electric car works, and to give advice on how to repair it without ever knowing what actually goes on under the hood. They'll be close on some things, but way off on others.

  23. Only Ted-Ed did not fully insult the Gallen. They just showed his errors but still recognize his contribution in medical study. Meanwhile Adam Ruins insulted him like he never contributed something.

  24. Sounds to me that this guy was low key high on his desperation to mimic life as he saw fit. Which was undoubtedly more based on narrow “morals “ I mean don’t torture animals for the “sake of humanity” that is never it… neither is viceversa, take a corpse please

  25. Some parts of that four humor is still believed and being followed today in Indian medicines such as siddha, ayurveda etc. I don't even want to start about homeopathy!

  26. It's hard to imagine that for all of our advances right now, will soon look archaic a thousand or even hundred years from now.

  27. Can you believe that today’s high school student knows more than the doctors and scholars of the olden days that’s amazing how science has come along so far that even the youngsters know I wish I could send one of the youngsters back in time to talk with one of the philosophers of the doctors and see what they say once the child tells them wrong it’s actually this way that way

  28. What a great way to make animal torture kid friendly! I know you present an impartial view of the subject, but it does come across as a form of acquiescence at times.

  29. was it all the people they killed he got this from.Pergamum neurologist gicsl.God has order .didn't God tell you not to spill blood!I said no to my drs.

  30. Hopefully Galen would just test a human instead of testing animals because all he said was lies Galen Learn about how organs work using humans not Animals btw I love your vids

  31. Why are the Romans depicted as Nordics???… People in the Media always depict the Romans, if not as No Civilization having Blacks, then as no Civilization Having Nordics, but never as Romans Racially were, MEDITERRANEAN RACE!!!

  32. But all these scientific stuff was already revealed to our Prophet Mohammad by Allah in Quran! All doctors and scientists must read and adopt Quran in their research operations. Islam = Science. Allah Hu Akbar!

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