Membranes and Electricity

  • Nicholas Sperelakis
Part of the Developments in Cardiovascular Medicine book series (DICM, volume 164)


Credit for the accidental discovery that an applied voltage makes muscle contract is given to Luigi Galvani (ca. 1760). Galvani found that two pieces of different metal wires touching a nerve in the leg of a freshly skinned frog caused the muscles to contract, provided that the other ends of the metal wires were in contact. Subsequently, Waller (ca. 1887) discovered that electrical currents were generated during each heartbeat and that they could be detected at the body surface. The string galvanometer was designed by Einthoven in 1913, and this instrument allowed him to record the electrocardiogram (ECG) on a routine basis. The rapidly developing science of electrocardiography then aided the physician in detecting and diagnosing various heart diseases.


Alternate Current Myotonic Dystrophy Squid Giant Axon Membrane Resistivity Black Lipid Membrane 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicholas Sperelakis

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