von haller
Biographies de neurologues
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mise à jour du
17 mars 2005
Albrecht von Haller
16 octobre1708 - Berne - 12 décembre1777
 Elémens de physiologie 1752 traduite par Pierre Tarin
Elemens de physiologie 1769 traduite par Toussaint Bordenave
albrecht von haller


 Les biographies de neurologues
Born in Bern, Switzerland, Albrecht von Haller was educated at the University of Tübingen and at the University of Leyden, where he studied under Boerhaave and Albinus. In 1735, after practicing medicine for eight years in Bern, Haller accepted the position as chair of medicine, anatomy, surgery, and botany at the University of Göttingen. He remained at Göttingen for seventeen years, then returned to Switzerland to spend the rest of his life in research and writing.
Haller, called "the Great"even in his lifetime, was an illustrious scholar and prolific writer whose interests included poetry, botany, ancient languages, biography, and philosophy, as well as medicine. His primary claims to fame are in medical bibliography and physiology. Haller compiled twenty volumes of bibliographies on anatomy, botany, surgery, and medicine. As physiologist, he proved the concept of "irritability"of tissue, distinguishing between nerve impulse (sensibility) and muscular contraction (irritability). In 1747, he published his observations in Primae Lineae Physiologiae (First Lines of Physiology).
The first comprehensive treatise of physiology, with much of the information coming directly from research work done by Haller himself, mostly conducted at Göttingen. "This massive work, containing structural, physiological and chemical analyses of every part of the body, constituted Haller's most important contribution to the development of physiology. It included his work on muscle irritability, nutrition, reproduction, the circulatory system, respiration, excretion and secretion, and psychobiology, with all reported theories and experiments supported by copious notes and references. Haller reported several physiologiocal discoveries in this work that were later forgotten, to be rediscovered only many years later; among these were his myogenic theory of the heartbeat and the role of bile in the digestion of fats."
Haller synthesized the whole physiological knowledge of his time. In the above, probably his greatest work, Haller included some anatomical descriptions which were most valuable. He is said to have written more than 1300 scientific papers.
"Although Haller had many interests and talents, he was chiefly a physiologist, and one of his great contributions to physiology was his demonstration that irritability is a specific property of all muscle tissue and that sensibility is the exclusive property of nervous tissue. This work, first published in 1747, contains many of the ideas that Haller later developed more fully in elementa physiologiae corporis humani, including his resonance theory, similar to that already advanced by Duverney and to that of Helmholtz more than one hundred years later."