Exorcizing the animal spirits: Jan Swammerdam on nerve function

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    For more than 1,500 years, nerves were thought to function through the action of 'animal spirits'. In the seventeenth century, René Descartes conceived of these 'spirits' as liquids or gases, and used the idea to explain reflex action. But he was rapidly proven wrong by a young Dutchman, Jan Swammerdam. Swammerdam's elegant experiments pioneered the frog nerve-muscle preparation and laid the foundation of our modern understanding of nerve function.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)395-400
    Number of pages5
    JournalNature Reviews. Neuroscience
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - May 2002


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