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Saturday, 25 October 2014


In 1824 William Beaumont (November 21, 1785 – April 25, 1853), a US army surgeon stationed at Fort Mackinac, came across Alexis St Martin, a young Canadian trapper who had received an accidental gunshot wound through the side. St Martin's wound only partially healed, and through an opening in the stomach wall, Beaumont was able to observe the workings of the stomach by dangling various foods on silk threads into the man's insides. He thus employed him and for ten years was able to study digestion directly.

       William Beaumont from the painting for Petrolagar Laboratories, Inc., by Tom Jones).
By 1833 the patient had tired of this and run away but Beaumont's 238 observations were recorded in Experiments and Observations on the Gastric Juice and the Physiology of Digestion. His findings were deemed as an immense contribution to the study of gastric digestion.

From Beaumont's Experiments and Observations on the Gastric Juice and the Physiology of Digestion, 1833 (p. 27)

It takes approximately twelve hours for food to entirely digest.

An adult's digestive tract is about 30 feet long.

Stomach rumblings are caused by air moving through your digestive tract—it doesn't necessarily mean you're hungry.

Within three days after dying, the enzymes in your body that once digested your food begin to eat your remains.

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