Wednesday, December 30, 2015

1664: Schneider discovers truth about phlegm

Conrad Victor Schneider (1614-1680)
Ancient physicians believed that phlegm was secreted by the brain, or at least attracted to the brain from food and drink that was taken in.  This continued to be a common theory until Conrad Victor Schneider used the microscope to inspect the nose in the 17th century.

Conrad Victor Schneider (1614-1680) studied the membranes in the nose, and became the first to recognize that phlegm was secreted by this membrane, what is now known as the Schneiderian Memberane.  (1, page 124)

This was a significant revolution, considering Galen believed that when too much phlegm was formed in the brain, it flowed down pathways to the ears, eyes, spine, skin, nose and lungs.  When this occurred the various diseases formed.

Schneider's observation, which was made in 1664, disproved another one of Galen's theories.  It was necessary in order to slowly, ever so slowly, put an end of the age old Grecian theories holding back the medical profession.  (1, page 124)


  1. Bradford, Thomas Lindsley, "Quiz Questions in the History of Medicine," 1898, Philadelphia

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