kneuro knowledge

Kneuro Knowledge 2

Everyone say hello to German physiologist, and one of the founding fathers of modern Biology, Theodor Schwann! Theodor Schwann’s (1810-1882) contributions to modern science cannot be understated, and his work paved the way for modern medicine as we know it.

In my opinion (and possibly the opinions of others) his greatest contribution to science was the development of cell theory (or pepsi, if you like the stuff). The idea that some organisms (particularly plants) were composed of cells, was already in existence. But this man proposed that not only were animals composed of cells - but that all life on Earth is composed of cells. He took this further by saying that all cells must orginate from a pre-existing cell. And to this day, his theory holds true and is one of the undisputed facts of science. With cell theory firmly in place, modern histology could spring into existence, amongst countless other biological/medical ideas/innovations.

To relate this to Kneuro Knowledge, this man discovered the Schwann cell. A type of glial cell which wraps around peripheral nerves (a process known as myelination), and insulates nerves to make them conduct impulses faster. Knowledge of these cells is critical for the understanding of multiple sclerosis, nerve regeneration and various motor neuron diseases. Multiple schwann cells will wrap around a single axon.

Apart from this, he showed that fermentation was a biological process mediated by living organisms (yeast!), and discovered the digestive stomach enzyme Pepsin! Pepsin was later added to tonics, and sold at chemists under the name ‘Pepsi’. Apparently, he’s also responsible for coining the term 'metabolism’.

Oh Theodor Schwann, you are a rascal.