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November 27, 1915


JAMA. 1915;LXV(22):1917-1918. doi:10.1001/jama.1915.02580220057023

It is somewhat surprising that the remarkable contributions to physiologic science by William Beaumont were not promptly followed by a succession of studies in the same field. For many years—almost to our own generation—writers on medical subjects related to digestion were content to quote the findings and the conclusions of the pioneer American physiologist as the final verdict. Nevertheless, it was clearly understood in Beaumont's time that his statements were by no means to be implicitly adopted. Thus we read: "The rapidity of digestion, as the author himself shows, varies greatly according to the quantity eaten, the amount and nature of the previous exercise, the interval of the preceding meal, the state of health and of the weather, and also the state of the mind. But in scarcely any of the experiments have these conditions been carefully noted." 3

Good clinical usage should be based on sound physiology. Recently a