18. Marco Antonio Alamo (1590 – 1662)

Born in 1590 in Racalmuto (Agrigento), in 1616 moved to Palermo where he started practicing Medicine. During the plague of 1624-25 he worked tirelessly both in Palermo and in other smaller towns of the province in assisting the affected population. This experience remained central to his scientific interests. In 1625 he published in Palermo a paper on how to avoid getting infected by the plague.

Known and appreciated outside the island, Alaimo refused the offer of the First Chair of Medicine at the University of Bologna, and then the office of the Chief Physician of the city of Naples, offered to him by the Viceroy Henriquez. In 1634 he was appointed consultant to the Chief Physician, consultant to the magistrate of Palermo, and member of the Public Health. He was also one of the founders of the Academy of Palermo latrofisici.

Alaimo wrote several medical works, some of which remained unpublished (Opus aureum pro cognoscendis, curandis febribus malignis; Consultationes pro arduissimis profligandis morbis). Much luck had instead Consultationes syriaci nunc pro ulceris vagantis curatione (Panormi 1632) and especially the Diadecticon, seu de succedaneis medicarnentis opusculum … (Panormi 1637). He identified as “atoms” pestiferous the two main routes of infection, the respiratory and skin, he also described precisely the symptoms progress and outcomes of the disease, and provided sensible prophylactic rules to prevent infection. Alaimo died in Palermo in 1662.

Read More: Treccani, http://www.treccani.it/enciclopedia/marco-antonio-alaimo_(Dizionario_Biografico)/

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