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Gastroenterology Print E-mail

Dr. Kennedy Gastroenterology is the branch of medicine which studies and treats disorders of the digestive system. The word comes from the combination of Ancient Greek words gastros (stomach), enteron (intestine) and logos (knowledge). Diseases affecting the "GI" or gastrointestinal tract (i.e. organs from mouth to anus) are the territory of this speciality. Doctors specializing in the field are called gastroenterologists or colloquially GI docs. Important advances have been made in the last 50 years, contributing to rapid expansion of the scope of this specialty. Hepatology or hepatobiliary medicine encompasses the study of the liver, pancreas and bile duct system and is traditionally considered a subspeciality. Here is a brief history of significant advances in gastroenterology:

  • Ancient Egyptian drawing on papyri revealed significant knowledge of gastrointestinal diseases among practicing doctors in Pharaoh periods.
  • Irynakhty, of the tenth dynasty c. 2125 BC was a court physician specializing in gastroenterology and proctology.
  • Among ancient Greeks, Hippocrates attributed digestion to concoction.
  • Galen's concept of the stomach having four faculties was widely accepted up to modern times.
  • 1780 Italian Lazzaro Spallanzani (1729–99) disregarded Galen's theories, and gave experimental proof on the action of gastric juice on food.
  • 1767 German Johann Zimmermann wrote an important work on dysentery.
  • 1777 Maximilian Stoll of Vienna described cancer of the gallbladder.
  • 1805 Philip Bozzini made first attempt to observe inside a living human body through a tube he named Lichtleiter (light guiding instrument) to examine the urinary tract, the rectum and the pharynx. This is the earliest description of endoscopy.
  • 1868 Adolf Kussmaul, a well known German physician, developed the gastroscope (and perfected the technique of sword swallowing). tubes.
  • 1870 Waldenburg invented the esophagoscope made of two telescopic metal.
  • 1871 at the society of physicians in Vienna, Carl Stoerk demonstrated an Waldenburg's esophagoscope.
  • 1876 Karl Wilhelm von Kupffer described the properties of some liver cells now called Kupffer cell.
  • 1884 Kronecker and Meltzern studied oesophageal manometry (measurement of pressure) in man.
  • 1916 Rudolph Schindler described many important diseases involving digestive system in his illustrated textbook and is portrayed by some as the "father of gastroscopy."
  • 1932 Shindler and Wolf developed a semiflexible gastroscope.
  • 1932 Burrill Bernard Crohn described Crohn's disease.
  • 1957 Basil Hirschowitz introduced the first prototype fiberoptic gastroscope.
  • 2005 Barry Marshall and Robin Warren of Australia were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discovery of Helicobacter pylori (1982/1983) and its role in peptic ulcer disease. James Leavitt assisted in their research, but passed away before the Nobel Prize was awarded.

The information in this article is not meant to be medical advice.�Treatment for a medical condition should come at the recommendation of your personal physician.

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