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Ann Anat. 2005 Nov;187(5-6):439-59.

["... that progress in anatomy is most likely to occur when its problems include the study of growth and function, as well as of structure". about the anatomy and physiology of Ernst Heinrich Weber (794-1878 and Wilhelm His (1831-1904) his successor in the department of anatomy at the University of Leipzig].

[Article in German]

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  • 1Institut für Anatomie der Universität Münster, Vesaliusweg 2-4, 48149 Münster, Germany.


The Leipzig anatomist and physiologist Ernst Heinrich Weber had introduced physiological thinking in anatomy and exact methods of mathematical physics to the study of the functioning of the body making him the founder of a physically orientated physiology. But he would not have been that excellent physiologist without being a nonetheless distinguished anatomist since he solved his physiological problems usually following function in close relation to structure. Together with his brother Wilhelm Eduard Weber (1804-1891), who later was to become a famous physicist, in their theory of waves he laid the basis for an exact analysis of the movements of fluids in elastic tubes und was the first to apply the basic laws of hydrodynamics to the circulation of the blood. In collaboration with his youngest brother Eduard Friedrich Wilhelm Weber (1806-1871), who worked as a prosector at his institute and together with Wilhelm Weber had studied the mechanics of the walking apparatus, he demonstrated the inhibiting effect of the vagus nerve on the action of the heart. Ernst Heinrich Weber's approach to consider an organ as a whole not neglecting the study of its function set him apart from most of his contemporaries and has characterized the work of the Leipzig anatomists and physiologists since his time. Among those was Wilhelm His from Basle who succeeded him in the chair of anatomy in 1872. On the basis of a systematic analysis of human embryos by means of serial sections and plastic reconstruction His completely reformed the field of embryology and was the first to present a comprehensive treatise on human embryology. The making of modern human embryology was, above all, his achievement. He did not confine himself to mere description but wanted to gain deeper insight into the causal events by developmental-mechanical conceptions. With his detection of the neuroblasts and that they give rise to an axon and later to dendrites His provided the developmental foundations for the neuron-theory.

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