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August 1947


Author Affiliations

From the Surgical Service, Mayo Clinic, and under the direction of Dr. Waltman Walters.

Arch Surg. 1947;55(2):189-203. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1947.01230080194009

STATISTICS incidence of peptic ulcer has risen with the pace of modern living,1 but also improved diagnosis has probably relabeled as peptic ulcer some of the gastric neuroses, dyspepsias and neuralgias of the stomach and visceral neuroses of the preRoentgen era.2 The influence of the mind over digestion, however, was recognized by the ancients, and when the anatomists discovered that the tenth cranial nerve extended from brain to colon, the early observations seemed to have an anatomic basis.

The Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, first published in 1664, was in effect the first international organ for the dissemination of scientific information. One hundred and fifty years later, Benjamin Brodie published therein the first clearcut observations of the influence of the vagus nerves on the secretions of the stomach.3 He had sectioned both nerves in the necks of 3 dogs and later killed

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