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Dr. Beaumont and "the man with the lid on his stomach"

by Diana Bradley, Staff Writer | November 11, 2011
From the November 2011 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine


Sir Andrew Combe, an English physiologist, said of Beaumont, “…singularly favorable as Dr. Beaumont's opportunities were, he has made no original discovery in the physiology of digestion. To a certain extent this is true, for in the proper sense of the word he has not made and does not claim to have made any discovery, but he has done what is at least equally essential for practical purposes.”

The more traditional viewpoint, however, is that Beaumont and his often-reluctant guinea pig, established major milestones to our understanding of the digestive process, including studies of gastric motility; gastric acidity and the importance of hydrochloric acid; and neurogenic influences on digestion.

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Beaumont died on April 25, 1853, after slipping on an icy step and hitting his head. He is the namesake of Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mich., and the Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso, Texas. St. Martin died aged 86 in St. Thomas de Joliette, Canada. The Canadian Physiological Society placed a plaque near his grave stating: “Through his affliction, he served all humanity.”

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