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August 8, 1908


JAMA. 1908;LI(6):467-471. doi:10.1001/jama.1908.25410060017001e

The literature concerning compensatory diarrhea or, as it has been more often called, vicarious diarrhea, is, contrary to expectation, extremely meager. Reports and experiments pertaining to this subject, published during the last twenty years, with few exceptions deal with but one form of compensatory diarrhea, namely the diarrheal symptom of uremia, and have added very little to our understanding of the phenomenon. Likewise, not one of a goodly number of experienced clinicians with whom I conferred on the question of compensatory diarrhea, knew a particle more than the text-book fact of the possible assumption of vicarious work by the bowels in uremia.

Compensatory diarrhea, however, may supervene in manifold conditions and at various stages of a progressive affection. In exceptional instances only will compensatory diarrhea be encountered as a terminal symptom. It is always symptomatic of arrest or perversion of the function of the skin, lungs, kidneys or the organs

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