Origins of Nephrology, Padua and the Renaissance
Realdo Colombo (1516-1559)
Eknoyan G.a · De Santo N.G.b
aRenal Section, Department of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Tex., USA; bDivision of Nephrology, Department of Pediatrics, Second University of Naples, Italy
G. Eknoyan, MD, Department of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, One Baylor Plaza, Houston, TX 77030 (USA), Tel.+1713 798 4748, Fax+1713 790 0681
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A pupil and then the successor of Vesalius to the Chair of Anatomy and Surgery at the University of Padua, Matteo Realdo Colombo (1516-1559) was equally consumed by the flame of scientific inquiry and recognition. His sole contribution to the literature, De Re Anatomica, was published after his death in 1559. In it, he correctly describes the position of the right kidney as lower than that of the left and provides the best description of the pulmonary circulation before that of William Harvey, who in his text duly acknowledged Colombo’s contributions. In the concluding chapter, he establishes the beginnings of morbid anatomy in describing diseased organs. De Re Anatomica was widely used as a textbook of anatomy, being translated into English in 1578 and German in 1609. He came to be sufficiently well known to become physician to the Vatican. One of his best known patients was Michelangelo, with whom he vainly tried to collaborate in illustrating De Re Anatomica. A regrettable eventuality, which could have reversed the fortunes of Vesalius and Colombo in the annals of the history of medicine.
© 1997 S. Karger AG, Basel
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