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June 30, 1917

SHOULD THE COLON BE SACRIFICED OR MAY IT BE REFORMED?

JAMA. 1917;LXVIII(26):1957-1959. doi:10.1001/jama.1917.04270060365003

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Abstract

About fifteen years ago, when spending a few weeks in Paris, I learned that Metchnikoff of the Pasteur Institute had announced the discovery that the colon was a useless appendage, a vestige of a primitive state which evolutionary processes had unfortunately failed to eliminate; that the colon bacillus was the germ of old age; that, in general, long lived animals had short colons, and animals with long colons, short lives.

About the same time Mr. Lane began advocating the operation of short circuiting and colectomy. I had an opportunity to witness his operative work and to admire his admirable technic and his genial courtesy. I saw a number of the patients on whom colectomy or short circuiting had been performed. In general, the patients seemed to be greatly benefited, although most of them had been operated on quite recently.

The contention of Metchnikoff that the colon is an objectionable organ

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