|Contribution||Marten (or Martin) published elaborate speculation that minute living creatures or animalcula may cause tuberculosis (phthisis).|
|Notes||Benjamin Marten, physician. Book on tuberculosis. Garrison gives name as Marten, and book as 'A new theory of consumption.' See "The Invisible World" by Catherine Wilson, 1995. Marten was aware of microscopy and of observations of living creatures in various body tissues. Concluded that creatures may even exist below the limits of microscopical resolution! -- so their "eggs" must be even smaller and capable of drifting in air and being taken in by breath or food. Further, one species of animalcule may affect certain organs or tissues, while another may affect others, resulting in various familiar diseases. Some people are so healthy that the infective "ova" may be expelled or destroyed before they are activated into life. Marten even explained intermittent fevers by saying that in a sweat the organisms are expelled, giving clinical relief until more organisms enter the blood from the lungs [this in the context of tuberculosis]. His theory, like Bradley's, was in opposition to current ideas of inanimate corpuscles affected by gravitation -- i.e. mechanistic, "Newtonian" ideas.|
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