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Portrait of the Swiss anatomist and physiologist Albrecht von Haller, 1708-1777. After founding a medical school at Gottingen, Haller returned to his native Berne. He worked on the nervous system, and recognised the tendency of muscle fibres to contract when stimulated, or when the attached nerve is stimulated, and he named this 'irritability'. He showed that only the nerves can transmit sensation, and that they are gathered into the brain. He wrote the first physiology textbook and worked on the circulation, respiration and digestion. He was also a poet, a bibliographer, a botanist and a writer on politics.
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