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05.06.2020 | main topic | Ausgabe 11-12/2020

Wiener Medizinische Wochenschrift 11-12/2020

Carl Freiherr von Rokitansky’s Manual and Rudolf Virchow’s criticism: The controversial subject of Rokitansky’s doctrine of crases and dyscrases and the groundwork for modern humoral pathology

Wiener Medizinische Wochenschrift > Ausgabe 11-12/2020
Dr. med. Ursula Rokitansky-Tilscher
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For Rokitansky, pathological anatomy was not only a descriptive but also an explanatory science. Since the changes in the solidis (morphological conditions) did not always adequately explain the cause of death, Rokitansky considered that the answers to his research questions were to be found in a combination of solidar pathology and humoral pathology. Many reviewers claim that Rokitansky had fallen back into the “old” humoral pathology. However, Rokitansky’s approach to humoral pathology also included the analysis of blood, blood plasma, blood serum, secretions, excretions, lymph and exudates in pathological anatomy. In his research, Rokitansky referred to “the oxidation of protein to fiber”, “illnesses of the protein” and “illnesses of the fibrin”. Rokitansky postulated that the progression of a disease was determined by the different forms of protein and fibrin in the blood. From his point of view, diseased blood components (dyscrasias) influence the tissue in its cellular and intercellular dimensions. He sought to generate awareness of this interaction in his Krasenlehre, which was criticised by Rudolf Virchow. Only in the past thirty years has research confirmed the visionary dimension of Rokitansky’s humoral pathology.

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