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HISTORY OF MEDICINE
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 15  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 299-301

Theodor Schwann: A founding father of biology and medicine


Department of Continuing Medical Education, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Tony Abraham Thomas
Department of Continuing Medical Education, Christian Medical College, Vellore - 632 002, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/cmi.cmi_81_17

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Theodor Schwann is best remembered for the eponymous Schwann cell that he studied and described in his microscopic studies of nervous tissue. However, his most important contribution to science would be the fact that he was one of the founders of the 'Cell doctrine' which proposed that all living beings were made of fundamental units called cells - a foundational principle on which rests much of our understanding of biological science. Schwann was one of the first scientists to break away from vitalism to lean toward a mechanistic or physico-chemical explanation of living processes which proposed that the biological processes in cells and living beings could be explained by physical and chemical phenomena. He was also involved in describing the physiology of bile and the enzyme pepsin which furthered our understanding of the physiology of digestion. His contributions to biology and medicine has paved the way for the emergence and blooming of several fields of study such as microbiology, pathology, histology and the principle of antibiotics.


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