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J Appl Physiol (1985). 2008 Dec;105(6):1877-80. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.91171.2008. Epub 2008 Oct 9.

Ibn al-Nafis, the pulmonary circulation, and the Islamic Golden Age.

Author information

  • UCSD Dept. of Medicine 0623A, 9500 Gilman Dr., La Jolla, CA 92093-0623, USA. jwest@ucsd.edu

Abstract

Ibn al-Nafis (1213-1288) was an Arab physician who made several important contributions to the early knowledge of the pulmonary circulation. He was the first person to challenge the long-held contention of the Galen School that blood could pass through the cardiac interventricular septum, and in keeping with this he believed that all the blood that reached the left ventricle passed through the lung. He also stated that there must be small communications or pores (manafidh in Arabic) between the pulmonary artery and vein, a prediction that preceded by 400 years the discovery of the pulmonary capillaries by Marcello Malpighi. Ibn al-Nafis and another eminent physiologist of the period, Avicenna (ca. 980-1037), belong to the long period between the enormously influential school of Galen in the 2nd century, and the European scientific Renaissance in the 16th century. This is an epoch often given little attention by physiologists but is known to some historians as the Islamic Golden Age. Its importance is briefly discussed here.

PMID:
18845773
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2612469
Free PMC Article

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