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November 3, 1917


JAMA. 1917;LXIX(18):1511-1512. doi:10.1001/jama.1917.02590450031011

The group of symptoms generally recognized as attributable to intestinal toxemia is too well known to require recapitulation. A priori, the most striking fact that presents itself is the great similarity between the symptoms referable to focal infection and those of intestinal toxemia. This analogy at once suggests that the toxemia associated with chronic constipation may have a bacterial origin. In other words, that an infectious agent is present in the intestine itself. This view is supported by the recent work of Lynch and McFarland,1 Satterlee,2 Sailer,3 Smithies,4 Turck,5 Barclay,6 and others. As a contribution to this phase of the subject I7 have recently reported a series of cases of pus infection of the rectum and lower colon as revealed by proctosigmoidoscopy.

Clinicians have long maintained that constipation per se could not be considered a disease entity, and have pointed out that persons