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January 21, 1928


JAMA. 1928;90(3):208. doi:10.1001/jama.1928.02690300048019

Twenty-nine years ago the English physiologists Bayliss and Starling1 published the results of their researches intended to elucidate the phenomena of intestinal peristalsis. The problem under consideration was an intricate one. Its practical importance is obvious from the circumstances that the continued propulsion of food and alimentary débris through several yards of intestine is one of the essential requirements of health; disturbance of the function may be provocative of distress and even of serious disorder. The complicated character of the mechanism involved is due to the fact that, in addition to the activity of the two independent layers of musculature which serve as the propulsive forces for the contents of the bowel, modifying influences are possible either reflexly through the central nervous system or from other parts of the alimentary canal through the local nervous system.

These studies, as well as those of other physiologists, notably Cannon of Harvard