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July 11, 1966


JAMA. 1966;197(2):141. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03110020129045

Although William Beaumont is usually credited L with the first experimental studies of gastric digestion from direct observation of the contents of the human stomach, a Viennese physician, Jacob (Jakob) Helm, a generation earlier, recorded the first critical clinical and experimental findings in a woman with a hole in her stomach. Helm was born in a suburb of Vienna, became later the father of three sons, one of whom entered law, the other two medicine. He was a warm, sympathetic, and unpretentious general practitioner who taught obstetrics at the University of Vienna, was physician to the Pensions-Institut für Witwen und Waisen, a charitable society for widows and orphans of physicians, and served as superintendent of another charitable institution, Stumpfe'sche Stiftung für Mediziner.1

Helm's main claim to renown in the history of medicine is a protocol of direct observations on the physiological response of the gastric mucosa to mechanical stimulation

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