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Ann Intern Med. 1982 Mar;96(3):365-9.

Sir Arbuthnot Lane, chronic intestinal stasis, and autointoxication.


In the early 1900s, a theory that constipation (stasis) led to systemic dysfunction became popular, Sir Arbuthnot Lane was largely responsible for the popularity of this theory, which was constructed entirely on unfounded hypotheses. As a result, colon bypass or colectomy was done for indications ranging from lassitude to epilepsy. The theory was accepted--although disputed--until the clinical futility of radical surgery was recognized. The favorable acceptance of stasis in its time exemplifies the dangers of medical practice by hypothesis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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