• Marco Cascella


Professor Giuseppe Moscati (1880-1927) was canonized by the Catholic Church in 1987. This act recognized the extraordinary qualities of a doctor who, considering his work as a “sublime mission”, dedicated his life to helping the sick. The fame of the “Holy doctor” or “doctor of the poor”, as people called him, was soon widespread and, immediately after his death, made him the subject of several biographies. These treatises, mainly written by religious hagiographers, have little analyzed Moscati as a doctor and scientist, or, in rare cases, privileged the description of his medical career, touching only marginally salient aspects of his work as a scientist and researcher. The purpose of this paper is to provide an insight into the figure of Moscati as a scientist, contextualizing his research activities in the scientific fields of biochemistry and physiology, which were flourishing in the early twentieth century. By a more careful analysis, his scientific production appears original for the resource-poor context and the innovative research method. The Italian scientist, combining physiological chemistry and biochemistry at the clinic, anticipated the birth of modern branches as the “Laboratory Medicine” and the “Clinical Pathology”. In particular, he carried out studies on diabetes, storage diseases, metabolism, toxicology, pathology, nephrology and occupational diseases. Moreover, he anticipated the concept of modern laboratory in the oncological field as means for the characterization of the “nature” of neoplasms and related therapeutic approaches. Therefore, even if Moscati was rarely mentioned by the sources of the history of medicine, it is safe to assume that the fame of the Saint has paradoxically eclipsed that of the scientist, preventing him from receiving the necessary reward.

Key words: Giuseppe Moscati; Biochemestry; Physiology.