Chapter 1

Historical Background

Camillo Peracchia

Abstract

This chapter reviews major steps in the history of respiratory physiology, without laying claims to completeness. Throughout the centuries, the growth to present knowledge of pulmonary physiology and pathophysiology has not been a smooth steady climb, but rather a slow, often clumsy, walk punctuated by clever inventions, startling discoveries and amazing insights, but also by backward steps, misunderstandings, mistakes, controversies, rediscoveries, conflicts, prejudices and superstitions. In this brief review, we will travel in time from centuries before common-era to present, witnessing the progress of knowledge through periods such as the Greco-Roman era, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the 17th, 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries, the three golden decades of the 20th century (1940-1970) and beyond.

Total Pages: 3-34 (32)

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