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Medicina Statica

posted by Ainsley Drew   Mar 26, 2009

Santorio Santorio was an Italian physician in the 1700s who performed experiments so precise, they named him twice. He’s best known for Medicina Statica, a collection of research which, among other things, details his experiments with “insensible perspiration.” Santorio would weigh what he consumed both before and after it was digested. The results concluded that a fair amount of what he put into his body was lost through his skin.

Fascinating stuff from the University of Virginia’s vault of historical collections:

“Santorio made more than theoretical contributions to science and medicine. He is credited with inventing a wind gauge, a water current meter, the “pulsilogium” to measure the pulse rate, an instrument to remove bladder stones, and a trocar to drain fluid from cavities. Both he and his friend Galileo mentioned the thermoscope, a precursor to the thermometer. There is debate over the actual inventor, but it is known that Santorio was the first to add a numerical scale to the instrument.”

And putting him soundly in the “mad scientist” category is the fact that he invented a precursor to the waterbed. It’s unclear whether or not it was filled with insensible perspiration, but it was probably hard to hump on.

via Claude Moore Health Sciences Library