Friday, November 20, 2015

William Harvey: Rage and Heart Disease

Reading Walter Pagel's book New Light on William Harvey I ran across a case described by Harvey. Pagel writes "How much insight Harvey had into the deep interlocking of psychic and somatic aspects of the causation of disease is best shown in a case report…"



"I knew another stout man, who did so boyl with rage because he had suffer'd an injury, and receiv'd an affront by one that was more powerfull than himself, that his anger and hatred being increas'd every day (by reason he could not be reveng'd) and discovering the passion of his mind to no body, which was so exulcerate within him, at last he fell into a strange sort of a disease, and was torur'd, and miserably tormented with great oppression and pain in his heart, and brest, so that the most skilfull Physicians prescriptions doing no good upon him, at last, after some years, he fell sick of the Scorbutick disease, pin'd away, and dyed.
This man only found ease as oft as his brest was prest down by a strong man, and was thump'd and beaten down as they do when they mould bread: his friends thought he was bewitch'd, or possess'd with the Devil." [The Anatomical exercises of Dr. William Harvey, London, 1653, 63]