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From Galen to Xerox: The Authoritarian Reference in Medicine

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School of Medicine, University of California; Davis, California

Ann Intern Med. 1982;96(2):245-246. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-96-2-245
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Clarissimus Galen was a Greek physician who lived and practiced in Rome in the second century A. D. He was said to be a skilled practitioner, but he was better known for preferring theory over observation, his dogmatism, and a reputation for infallibility. For centuries after his death until the time of Vesalius, questions of anatomy, physiology, and disease were referred back to Galen's works as the final authority (1). This inordinate influence of the man and of his writings was characteristic of a European medicine stagnant for nearly 14 centuries.

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