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July 1933


Author Affiliations

Fellow in Surgery, the Mayo Foundation; ROCHESTER, MINN.

Arch Surg. 1933;27(1):1-50. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1933.01170070004001

The large intestine in most animals, including man, is generally regarded as possessing merely storage function similar to that of a catch basin so that defecation may take place at a convenient time. In other words, it is looked on as a fixed tube, or system of tubing, present mainly to transmit feces. Metchnikoff's claim that man at one time made use of his large intestine as a reservoir, enabling him to pursue his prey or run away from enemies without undergoing risk of stopping to evacuate the bowels, no doubt contains much truth. However, his belief that people can live without this portion of the intestine, and that of Lane,1 Waugh2 and others regarding intestinal stasis and other possible evils for which the colon can be responsible, have thrown this organ into disrepute and probably have discouraged extensive study of its physiology. It is true that individuals

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