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Observationum in hominis affectibus
Ludwig Konig Basel: Ludwig Konig, 1614. Platter, Felix (1536-1614). Observationum, in hominis affectibus plerisq[ue], corpori & animo, functionum laesione, dolore, aliave molestia & vitio incommodantibus, libri tres. . . . 8vo. [48], 845 [1]pp. Basel: C. Waldkirch for Ludwig Konig, 1614. 170 x 103 mm. 19th cent. quarter morocco, worn at spine, small split in rear hinge. Uneven browning & foxing, but very good. Bookplate. First Edition. Garrison-Morton 3789; 4297.9; 4511.1. A disciple of Eustachi, Falloppio and Vesalius, Platter was one of the foremost pathologists of the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, occupying a place midway between Fernel (1497-1558) and Bonet (1620-89). His Observationes, published the year of his death, contains a lifetime's worth of detailed pathological observations of a wide variety of human ailments, including veneral and genito-urinary diseases, tuberculosis, bodily deformities, disorders of the sensory organs, gynecological diseases, etc., gathered from both living patients (Platter was chief physician of Basel from 1571 until his death) and from 48 post-mortem examinations. "For many, Platter's fame is based on the abundance of individual observations contained in the case histories in his Observationes. . . . The Observationes contains observations in all branches of medicine. . . . It is astonishing how [Platter] could see and grasp originalities in every field" (Karcher, Platter, pp. 80-81 [our translation]; also pp. 56-87). Long, in his History of Pathology, credits Platter with performing over 300 dissections during his 57-year medical career--an astounding number if true, since the obtaining of cadavers was severely restricted by both church and secular authorities during this time. Platter's enthusiasm for dissecting is recorded in his lively and entertaining diary, kept while he was a medical student at Montpellier; according to his diary, Platter's love of dissecting even made him turn grave-robber at one point! Platter was probably the first to practice anatomic pathology, noting during post-mortem examinations that certain illnesses appeared to be caused by anatomic abnormalities. He was ahead of his time in including exact dates in his case histories, and would often include the names, sexes and occupations of his patients as well. Platter was also one of the earliest to study mental illnesses scientifically, seeking their origins in physiological rather than supernatural causes; the Observationes contains accounts of all the then known psychiatric disorders together with details of their treatment. Other notable contributions contained in the Observationes are the first known case report of death from hypertrophy of the thymus (in an infant) and an account of a meningioma. Platter has also been credited with including in the Observationes an early description of the deformity of the fingers now known as "Dupuytren's contracture"; however, this is incorrect (see Boyes, On the Shoulders of Giants, p. 22). DSB. Krivatsy 9073. Long, History of Pathology, p. 41. Norman 1716. Waller 7505. Pusey, History of Dermatology, p. 44, crediting Platter with studying "universal exfoliative dermatitis, gangrene of the skin, and the use of white precipitate ointment in pustular eczema."
      [Bookseller: Jeremy Norman's Historyofscience.com ]
Last Found On: 2013-03-23           Check availability:      ABAA    

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