When one contemplates the marvelous change in the past twenty years in our knowledge of the diseases of the digestive apparatus and honestly tries to analyze what has been the fundamental cause of this change— this metamorphosis from poverty of method and uncertainty of result to our present wealth of diagnostic data and successful therapy—I feel that we must admit that it is to the surgeon and to the physiologist that this great change is mainly due.
The use of the stomach tube has been an aid, and the more refined and newer methods of studying gastric and intestinal secretions have proved of interest; but an attempt to evolve a gastro-intestinal pathology fundamentally on the basis of secretory variations is to lean on a frail reed—and in the stomach the secretory findings must be regarded as but general indexes of the tendency of the functional digestive act rather than as
BROWN TR. LATE RESULTS OF SUPPOSEDLY SUCCESSFUL ABDOMINAL OPERATIONS ON THE DIGESTIVE TRACT. JAMA. 1919;73(20):1501–1506. doi:10.1001/jama.1919.02610460019005
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