Franciscus Sylvius, Dutch physiologist

Franciscus Sylvius, Dutch physiologist

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Caption: Franciscus Sylvius. Portrait of Franciscus Sylvius (1614-72), Dutch physiologist. Sylvius (born Franz de la Boe) introduced ward-based medical instruction whilst teaching at Leiden University. He thought that disease was caused by an imbalance between acids and alkalis in the body. This was incorrect but was valuable in being the first theory to challenge the prevailing belief in the 'four humours'. Sylvius studied the digestive system and was the first to propose that saliva aided digestion. He also studied the brain and described the fissure of Sylvius between the temporal and frontal lobes of the brain and the middle cerebral artery.

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Keywords: acid-alkali theory of disease, anatomist, brain anatomist, digestion, f., four, franciscus, humour, opponent, pioneer, pioner, portraits, saliva, surname s, sylvius, ward-based instruction

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