Tuesday, June 24, 2008

De Motu Cordis

Within us we possess an amazingly simple yet powerful and efficient pump that delivers our life sustaining blood. Many of us are familiar with its basic architecture and understand the general principles concerning its function, and all of us are aware of the consequence if it stops performing its vital task.

Surprisingly, it was not so long ago (1628) that we did not understand that the heart receives "used" blood from the body and pumps it to the lungs to dispose of waste products and acquire precious oxygen, followed by a return to the heart, and then onto the body to complete the cycle over and over.

In my Medical Classics course I just read the book which elucidated these basic principles, as well as several others regarding the heart and our circulatory system. It was such an enjoyable read because the author uses basic observations, with equally basic descriptions, to elaborate on a seemingly complex process. I have to believe that he knew the text would not be well received if he did not write and explain things in this manner, it had to be intentional.

As with any situation similar to the one above, his detractors had reason to refute his findings because many of his ideas flew in the face of what had previously been known, and there is no doubt that William Harvey fanned these flames by essentially saying "...you dummies, just look and you will see."

Where this ultimately leads me is towards a curiosity about what I am proclaiming now that will be proven incorrect in the next couple of centuries. What is it that people will chuckle about when they read what I thought to be true? I know the earth is round and that my heart is responsible for pumping blood through my body, but something will have to go, what it is I do not know.

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