Association of Gastrointestinal Motility Disorders, Inc. (AGMD)
Monthly Online Newsletter
In This Issue
* Make Our Voices Heard - IFFGD
* The Burden Of Guilt
- Melissa Adams VanHouten
* When It Comes To Sepsis, Remember It's About Time - Sepsis Alliance
* Quick Facts About Pain - U.S. Pain Foundation, #PainWarriorsUnite
* Mental Health Facts - NAMI
* Thinking Outside The Box
- Stacy June
* Personal Insights On Living With Diabetes - AGMD Series Of Interviews With Laura Schmidt
* Accelerating The Sands Of Time - Luke Anthony Pawlowsky
* September In Medical History
According to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academics, 1 in 3 adults live with pain. Pain affects more Americans than cancer, heart disease and diabetes combined. Perception of pain by an individual is highly complex and individualized, and is subject to a variety of external and internal influences. When assessing and treating chronic pain, it can be a difficult and trying process for the patient.
Many patients with digestive motility diseases and disorders live with chronic pain at various levels. In some cases, the pain may occur at unpredictable intervals and for fluctuating durations and intensities.
Pain Awareness Month provides an opportunity for pain warriors across the U.S. to come together and form a united front. The U.S. Pain Foundation's pain warrior bracelet serves as a symbol that reflects unity and strength within the pain community while encouraging pain warriors to keep fighting for proper care.
This year, U.S. Pain has selected to make unity the theme for Pain Awareness Month. The #PainWarriorsUnite theme is directly connected to the pain warrior bracelet and to the idea that the people who live daily with pain should be at the forefront of all pain related discussions.
Chronic pain comes in many shades. The descriptions alone can be colorful: throbbing, shooting, aching, burning, freezing, and so many more. Pain patients rarely describe their pain by using only one of these vivid explanations. Just as there are innumerable ways to describe pain, there are countless conditions that can cause or contribute to chronic pain; each condition is represented by its own awareness ribbon color.
Sepsis is the body's overwhelming and life-threatening response to infection, which can lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and death. According to the Sepsis Alliance, sepsis affects more than 30 million people worldwide annually and takes 8 million lives, including those of more than 3 million children, each year. The risk of sepsis can be reduced by preventing or quickly identifying and managing infections. This includes practicing good hygiene, staying current with vaccinations, and seeking treatment when infections are suspected. Sepsis is a medical emergency that requires urgent attention and rapid treatment for survival. When caught early enough, sepsis can be effectively treated by using existing and proven protocols.
Many individuals fully recover from sepsis, while others may have long-lasting effects, such as amputations or organ dysfunction (e.g. kidney failure). Other after-effects of sepsis are less obvious, such as memory loss, anxiety or depression. Nearly 40% of U.S. adults have never heard of sepsis.
National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month
In the U.S., 15,780 children under the age of 21 are diagnosed with cancer every year; approximately 1/4 of them will not survive the disease. A diagnosis turns the lives of the entire family upside down. The objective of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month is to put a spotlight on the types of cancer that largely affect children, survivorship issues, and - importantly - to help raise funds for research and family support.
There are many different types cancers as well as various treatments that are available. Treatments may include: surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, targeted therapy, hormone therapy, stem cell transplant, and precision medicine. Certain cancers as well as treatments can impact the digestive tract causing such symptoms as diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, swallowing problems, taste changes and special dietary needs.
Suicide Prevention Month
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, more than 40,000 Americans die from suicide each year, making it the nation's 10th leading cause of death. On average, there are 123 suicides per day.
A 2017 study published in the Journal of Preventive Medicine suggested that p
eople with chronic health problems have a higher risk of suicide. Having more than one chronic health problem also substantially increases the risk of suicide, the findings showed. Although the research found a link between chronic physical conditions and suicide, it didn't prove a cause-and-effect relationship.
Diane C. Robinson, PhD, Director of Cancer Support Community states: "
Chronic health conditions don't just have physical implications, they affect the overall quality of life of many patients - and this in turn can affect them mentally and emotionally. Even if someone who has a chronic condition isn't dealing with a diagnosed mental health disorder, we need to look out for warning signs. Suicide screening should become a greater part of chronic disease management for at-risk patients, as recognizing these signs could help us intervene early and get people the treatment they need."
A person in acute risk for suicidal behavior most often will show:
Warning Signs of Acute Risk:
Threatening to hurt or kill him or herself, or talking of wanting to hurt or kill him/herself; and or,
Looking for ways to kill him/herself by seeking access to firearms, available pills, or other means; and/or,
Talking or writing about death, dying or suicide, when these actions are out of the ordinary.
These might be remembered as expressed or communicated ideation. If observed, seek help as soon as possible by contacting a mental health professional or calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for a referral.
Expanded Warning Signs:
If observed, seek help as soon as possible by contacting a mental health professional or calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for a referral.
- Increased substance (alcohol or drug) use
- No reason for living; no sense of purpose in life
- Anxiety, agitation, unable to sleep or sleeping all of the time
- Feeling trapped - like there's no way out
- Withdrawal from friends, family and society
- Rage, uncontrolled anger, seeking revenge
- Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities, seemingly without thinking
- Dramatic mood changes
These warning signs were compiled by a task force of expert clinical-researchers and 'translated' for the general public.
Join Us This Month As We Make Our Voices Heard
Whether you are living with the daily challenges of a chronic gastrointestinal (GI)
disorder or you know someone who is, your voice is needed to create change!
During the month of September, make your voice heard by your House Members of
Congress. Write a letter or draw a picture sharing your personal experiences with a
chronic GI disorder and demonstrating the critical need for greater research funding for
treatments and cures through HR 1187, the Functional GI and Motility Disorders
Research Enhancement Act of 2017.
Need inspiration to get started?
Check out our
sample letter template
information about HR 1187 and how your Representative can sign on.)
Then, send your letters or pictures digitally to Peter Herzog at
mail to 507 Capitol Court NE, Suite 200, Washington DC 20002 on or before Friday,
September 21st, and we'll take care of the rest.
As we make our voices heard by email, phone, and social media during
National Advocacy Day on Wednesday, September 26th, IFFGD will hand deliver
your letters and pictures to your House Members of Congress. In this way, we can
maximize the impact of our message and raise critical awareness for the millions of
Americans struggling daily with the challenges posed by a chronic GI disorder.
Raising our voices, together we can make a difference.
Your Friends at IFFGD
Raising our voices, together we can make a difference.
1. Before September 26th
2. On September 26th
- Write a letter or draw a picture to your Member of Congress that speaks to your personal experience with a chronic GI disorder and highlights the need for research into new and better treatments and cures.
- If desired, use this sample letter to help you format your letter to your Representative.
- Send your letters to Peter Herzog at firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to 507 Capitol Court NE, Suite 200, Washington DC 20002.
- We'll deliver hand deliver your letters and pictures to your Congressional Representative on IFFGD's Virtual Advocacy Day, Wednesday, September 26th.
Identify and find the contact information for your Representative by going to
and entering your zip code in the box at the top right corner or contact our Director of Advocacy at
- Identify yourself as a constituent and ask to speak with the healthcare staff member for your Representative. If they are unavailable, you can leave a voicemail.
- Ask that your Member of Congress become a cosponsor of HR 1187, The Functional Gastrointestinal and Motility Disorders Research Enhancement Act of 2017.
- Provide a short explanation of functional GI and motility disorders. Refer to the Quick Facts below for help.
- Briefly share your personal story of how one of these disorders has affected your life, or the life of someone you know.
- Explain that HR 1187 will significantly improve our scientific understanding of the functional GI and motility disorders and improve diagnosis and treatment.
- Thank the staff member for their time and attention.
Give the aide your contact information and ask to be informed about the actions of your Representative on this key issue.
- Fill out the provided contact form with your contact information or, if a contact form is not provided, include your mailing address in your email to identify yourself as a constituent.
- Follow steps 2 through 6 above.
- If desired, use this sample letter to help you format your letter to your Representative.
- Find your Representative's Twitter handle with this list from C-SPAN: www.twitter.com/cspan/lists/members-of-congress.
- Identify yourself as a constituent.
- Ask your Representative to cosponsor bill HR 1187.
- Use #HR1187 to join the conversation.
- HR 1187 is budget-neutral, it does not require additional costs to implement.
- Functional gastrointestinal and motility disorders affect 1 in 4 people in the US - men, women, and children.
- The conditions are a serious issue for many military veterans - part of Chronic Multisymptom Illness (or Gulf War Syndrome).
- The conditions involve improper functioning of the nerves, muscles, and related mechanisms of the digestive tract.
- They are chronic and some can be life-threatening.
- These conditions are often misdiagnosed or mistreated.
- Currently, treatment options are extremely limited, not always effective, and focus on symptom management - no cures are known.
Finally, to help with tracking our progress, we'd appreciate it if you would
send us an email
to let us know that you contacted your Member of Congress in support of HR 1187, and let us know the name of your Representative. (We will keep your name and contact information confidential.) Our goal is to continue to work with policy makers to advance this critical legislation in Congress on behalf of the digestive health community.
The Burden Of Guilt
By Melissa Adams VanHouten
There is a false presumption among some that the chronically ill do nothing more than spend their days in bed, wailing in agony, and, if those of us with chronic illness are ever witnessed enjoying a rare good moment, it is further presumed by these misguided souls that we "must not be that sick" or that we have somehow been instantly and magically cured. Unfortunately, because of this subtle pressure (intended or not) to perpetually appear and act ill, lest we not be taken in earnest, many in the chronic illness community conclude we must never allow others to see us in a lighthearted, pleasant moment. We question in our own minds whether we can indeed be ill and have relatively good times and feel incredible guilt over any enjoyment. We doubt ourselves and often feel compelled to appear in a constant state of agony, ceding to those who judge us as inventing or exaggerating our condition merely because we seek attention, pity, or avoidance of responsibilities. We make the mistake of believing we must sacrifice the good times and speak only of our misery so that others will take our illness seriously.
Much of the problem stems from a misunderstanding of "chronic" illness. To be chronically ill does not necessarily mean that every moment of every day we suffer. Unfortunately, some do, but others experience intermittent symptoms and/or symptoms which vary in intensity from mild to quite severe. Chronic illness can be unpredictable - disabling one day and bearable the next, stable for a spell and beyond control, even life-threatening, at other times. We must take advantage of the fleeting moments in which symptoms are minimal to have any sort of decent life.
In addition, even those of us who do have constant symptoms have often become masters of disguise and have learned to mask our symptoms for the benefit of others. We have become accustomed to pushing our pain to the back of our minds so that we can participate, if only briefly, in everyday "normal" life. What the world sees is what we allow it to see, and our private moments of pain and anguish remain secret. We are ill, but we hide it well.
The impact of an illness on one's life should not be judged by a single moment in time. Those who doubt and induce guilt would do well to understand that outer appearances often deceive. The chronically ill need not feel guilty for rare feel-good moments nor for clinging to their desire for normalcy. I leave you with the following explanation of sorts, thoughts from my own life which has been deeply impacted by Gastroparesis, a life-altering digestive motility disorder which has robbed me not only of my ability to eat but also of any semblance of "normal," in the hope you will truly "see" what is often "unseen" and we might finally set aside the judgments and be lifted of our guilty burdens:
It does not mean I am "cured" if
... you see me eating a forbidden food. I am sometimes so hungry and tired of protein drinks that I am willing to cope with nausea and/or vomiting for a moment's pleasure, for a mere morsel of a food I have not tasted in years. I am also likely fully convinced I will die TODAY if I do not find a way to consume more calories, even if doing so results in agony beyond compare.
... you see me donning makeup and a nice outfit, laughing, enjoying a movie, a concert, or my daughter's school play. There are times I am so weary of looking at four walls I could scream. And even though I will pay for this excursion dearly with pain and fatigue, it is worth it just to see a smile on my daughter's face and to know that, for a brief time, we did something "normal" together and I did not disappoint her, as I have a million other times. Please note, my attendance likely means I have gone without food and drink for the last few days, as that is now the only way I can manage to stop the symptoms which otherwise prevent me from attending such outings. And when the event ends, I will most assuredly go a few days more without nutrition, as the exertion will sicken me to the point I cannot immediately bear the added suffering of eating and drinking.
... I say I am fine. I do not mean "fine" as you perhaps define it. I mean that as a serious, excruciatingly painful, life-altering, daily chronic illness goes, this is not one of my absolute worst days, and I may actually survive it. Alternately, I may mean, "I know you do not really want the truth and are simply being polite, so I am going to do us both a favor and tell you what you wish to hear, even though I feel as if I may collapse at any second." My smile often masks my true emotions and symptoms and is intended only for your comfort.
... I speak of a medication or therapy improving my symptoms. Perhaps one of my treatments brings my pain level down from a 9 to a 7 or lessens my nausea. This does not mean I am suddenly able to function at 100% or that I can now fully participate in all normal, pre-diagnosis activities. Further, simply because a therapy helped today, that does not mean it will tomorrow.
... I write an essay, post a meme, record a video, or join a chat. To avoid total isolation, I largely connect online now. Further, it is the means by which I advocate, and, despite my struggle, I manage to show up, speak up, and fight -- because NOTHING is more important to me than finding a genuine cure.
My good moments are few, and I refuse to feel guilty for taking full advantage of them. Thank you for your willingness to see past initial appearances and for acknowledging the serious nature of my illness.
This article was previously published in
Melissa Adams VanHouten is a former university political science instructor and corporate trainer who holds a B.S. in Political Science from St. Joseph's College and an M.A. in Political Science from Indiana State University. After being diagnosed with gastroparesis in February of 2014, she became a passionate advocate for those in her community who feel voiceless and ignored. Currently, as the Association of Gastrointestinal Motility Disorders (AGMD) Patient Education and Advocacy Specialist, co-author of the book, "Real Life Diaries: Living with Gastroparesis," and creator and administrator of several online support and advocacy groups, she spends her days advancing the cause of those who struggle to live with the sometimes devastating and life-altering effects of gastroparesis and other digestive diseases. It is her fondest desire to empower others to advocate for awareness, better treatments, and, ultimately, a cure.
Thinking Outside The Box
By Stacy June
The movement of food and waste through the gastrointestinal tract (GI) is due to the constriction and relaxation of the muscles in a coordinated fashion known as peristalsis. Any disease process that directly affects the muscles or nerves involved in peristalsis can cause a gastrointestinal motility disorder. This can result in symptoms like pain, early satiety, nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea and bloating. There are many diseases that can alter the motility in the GI tract. Diseases that damage the nervous system, certain medications and autoimmune connective tissues diseases are just a few causes of GI motility disorders. Quite frequently doctors are not able to find the cause, and patients are told that their case is idiopathic (cause unknown).
An under recognized cause of a GI motility disorder is an autoimmune autonomic ganglionopathy (AAG) or a limited form of AAG known as autoimmune gastrointestinal dysmotility (AGID). In AAG the immune system mistakenly attacks the autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system (ANS) is responsible for regulating blood pressure, heart rate, digestion, sweating, body temperature and urination. Tests used to evaluate the ANS include Valsalva maneuver, RR interval testing, tilt-table testing, and the thermoregulatory sweat test. Gastrointestinal motility tests include the gastric emptying study, SmartPill capsule, Sitzmarks study, esophageal manometry, and anorectal manometry. The SmartPill capsule measures pressure, pH and temperature from within the entire gastrointestinal tract to determine gastric emptying time, small and large bowel transit time and total transit time. In the Sitzmarks study a capsule with little rings is swallowed and x-rays are taken on certain days to determine if colon transit is delayed. Gastric emptying study can be used to see if there is a delay in gastric emptying after ingesting a meal with radioisotopes. Esophageal and anorectal manometry look at the strength and coordination of the muscles in the esophagus and rectum, respectively.
The detection of autoantibodies in the serum can help make the diagnosis of AAN or AGID. Mayo Clinic offers the autoimmune gastrointestinal dysmotility (GID1) and the autoimmune dysautonomia (DYS1) panels which tests for these autoantibodies. You do not have to go to Mayo to have the panel done. Blood can be drawn locally and then sent to Mayo. The presence of these autoantibodies along with a motility disorder demonstrated by GI transit studies is highly suggestive of an autoimmune gastrointestinal motility disorder. If autonomic failure is seen with ANS testing along with the presence of autoantibodies that would suggesting AAN.
Treatment with Intravenous Immunoglobulin (IVIg) has shown to be effective for both AAN and AGID. IVIg is considered an immunomodulator. That is it modifies the immune response. Plasmapharesis has also been used which involves removing the patients plasma that contains the autoantibodies and replacing it with new plasma. Supportive medications for blood pressure, constipation, nausea, and vomiting are used to help manage symptoms. Prokinetics to help with motility are also used. Although there is no cure for these autoimmune diseases advances continue to be made in ways to manage them!
Reference: Mayo Clinic
Stacy has Bachelor of Science degrees in Biology and Medical Technology and did some post graduate work in Pathology. She spends her free time serving in her church as secretary/treasurer, volunteering as a writer for AGMD, and traveling with her husband. She has an autoimmune disease which has caused damage to multiple organs including gastroparesis, slow transit constipation, neuropathy and interstitial lung disease.
Personal Insights On Living With Diabetes
AGMD Series Of Interview With
In order to gain a better personal perspective of life with diabetes, gastroparesis, GERD, Barrett's syndrome, Neuropathy and depression, AGMD will be conducting a series of short interviews with Laura Schmidt.
During the surgery for your neurgastro stimulator, was any other additional procedure done that was unanticipated?
Answer: Yes. Due to my extreme weight loss and malnutrition, a J-tube was placed during the stimulator surgery.
Question: Describe what a J-tube looks like?
Mine is a narrow tube that goes through my abdominal wall and into my small intestine.
Question: How do you use the J-tube today?
Answer: I use my tube mostly for medicine.
Question. Does your J-tube ever have to be replaced?
Answer: Yes. I have to have my tube replaced every three to four months.
Question: How is the procedure done to replace a J-tube?
Answer: To replace the J-tube, I am given a little lidocaine jelly around the stoma (hole). They then pull the tube out. They have to relieve the stress holding the tube in a loop at the end to hold it in. Theypull the old one out and insert a new one.
Question: Will your current neurogastric stimulator ever need to be replaced again?
Answer: Yes. It already has been replaced. I am now on my third and more powerful one now. Plus, the batteries do not last as long as they were intended to be. I got 5 years out of my second stimulator.
Question: Are you on any restricted diet as a result of your gastroparesis?
Answer: Yes, everything I learned to eat as a diabetic is completely reversed, as carbs are need to live and veggies are a no-no.
Question: Name three challenges that you have found in your life as a result of li
ving with gastroparesis.
Answer: Getting proper nutrition, depression and finding a new purpose in life.
Question: How do you cope with an additional diagnosis of gastroparesis after having Type 1 Diabetes for so many years?
Answer: Actually, with the experience of taking ownership of my diabetes for so long, it was almost an easy transition. I already knew how to exchange foods, eat or not eat, etc. I think it was a benefit to me as I already has some experience with a chronic illness before being hit with the gastroparesis.
Accelerating The Sands Of Time
By Luke Anthony Pawlowsky
My name's Luke. I am a very goal oriented individual. If I am not working to pursue my goals, my dreams, and an overall improved outlook on life... what am I?
Master of Accounting, Entrepreneur, Friend of many, Lover of Life.
For the first 25 years of my life I had shaped myself to be a strong person, a warrior, the person I wanted to be. I know life moves fast, but I never anticipated a simple stomach condition to shift the sands of time.
From March to June of 2016 an intense physical and emotional pain washed over my life like a tsunami, and left me a shell of the man I once was, wondering the wastelands of earth... I then knew I experienced a true depression for the first time in my life.
I've felt anxiety before, and I've felt down and sad, but this depression was a foreign wasteland to me. I felt like that I was trapped in an empty world without emotions. Pain that left me gripping my sides and screaming in pain, too much pain to eat, too much pain to sleep, too much anxiety to even think, more trips to the Hospital than I can count on two hands...
I could feel the earth around me shake when I was struggling to complete my last semester graduate school; nearly failing out from a steep decline in physical and mental health.
"What is wrong with my body?"
"Why am I in so much pain?"
I notice when I am at my lowest, when I am in excruciating pain, when I have reached my wits end, it revealed the person I am. It is important to understand one's physical limitations. Thankfully, throughout this crisis, I would remind myself that I would never allow this condition to make me lose a sense of who I am, and my own positivity.
"Why NOT me?"
"There is something wrong with my body, and my body is doing the best to alert me of that"
"What could be the ultimate root of this problem... or at the very least, what can I focus on fixing for the short term and long term."
These times of hardship can be horrible, anxiety inducing moments that change a person entirely... or... they can reveal who you are deep down under.
Don't forget you are your toughest critic. Don't forget to love yourself. Never forget who you are.
Luke Anthony is a new volunteer for AGMD. Since 2016, he has been suffering from Superior Mesenteric Artery Syndrome (SMAS) and along with pursuing his carer as a master accountant, he is driven to draw awareness of this syndrome and provide support to those with SMAS.
September In Medical History
September 18, 1804 - January 29, 1883 - A
French surgeon who coined the word microbe
for a microorganism in 1871, which Émile Littré included in the 1886 edition of his Dictionary of Medicine
. Sédillot started his career as a military doctor (1825) and served in the Polish campaign as a surgeon's aide. By 1841, he became a professor of clinical surgery at Strasbourg military hospital. Sédillot was a pioneer in aseptic surgery, and promoted the use of chloroform anesthesia. Among other surgical techniques he developed, he was the first to apply a stomach fistula, and coined the term gastrostomy
for that operation. He was the author of numerous publications, including the first book in France on anesthesia (Jan 1848). Later in life he suffered progressive deafness, and no longer able to participate in learned societies, he retired.
September 19, 1915 - August 18, 1980 - Elizabeth Stern (married name Elizabeth Stern Shankman) was a Canadian-born American, one of the first pathologists to work on the progression of a cell from normality to cancerous. Her breakthrough studies of cervical cancers have changed the disease from fatal to one of the most easily diagnosed and treatable. Her studies showed that a normal cell advanced through 250 distinct stages before becoming cancerous and thus is the most easily diagnosed of all cancers. She was the first to linking a virus in herpes simplex to cervical cancer. She was also the first to report the linkage between oral contraceptives and cervical cancer.
September 20, 1888 - November 6, 1976 - David Marine - American pathologist whose substantial research on the treatment of goiter with iodine led to the iodizing of table salt. During 1917-22 he ran a trial on a large group of schoolgirls to show that an iodine supplement dramatically reduced the incident of goiter (a major swelling of the thyroid gland in the neck). His results clearly showed the important of iodine in the diet. Dr. David. M. Cowie promoted the production of iodized table salt, first sold on 1 May 1924, and later throughout the U.S., greatly reducing the incidence of goiter. Marine worked on salt iodization for the World Health Organization, further spreading its benefits. (As early as 1821 French chemist Jean-Baptiste Boussingault had observed that iodine-rich salt could treat goiter.)
September 21, 1971 - February 22, 1984 -
David Vetter - American patient who lived his twelve years of life in a sterile plastic "bubble" to protect him from any chance of infection, because he was born with the a genetic disease, severe combined deficiency syndrome (SCID). He was publicly identified only as "David," or "the Bubble Boy." He died after an unsuccessful bone marrow stem cells transplant that had been hoped could save him. The confinment and loneliness caused psychological turmoil that was kept from the media, which wrote of a more benign experience. A made-for-TV movie was inaccurate. The bone marrow from his sister, despite screening to avoid such a problem, contained Epstein-Barr virus. He died of Burkitt's lymphoma (from which it was learned, for the first time, that a virus can cause cancer.) He lived his last 15 days outside of the bubble.
September 23, 1869 - November 11, 1938 - Mary Mallon (Typhoid Mary) - American patient who was the quarantined disease carrier, known as Typhoid Mary, the famous typhoid carrier in the New York City area in the early 20th century. Fifty-one original cases of typhoid and three deaths were directly attributed to her (countless more were indirectly attributed), although she herself was immune to the typhoid bacillus (Salmonella typhi). The outbreak of Typhus in Oyster Bay, Long Island, in 1904 puzzled the scientists of the time because they thought they had wiped out the deadly disease. Mallon's case showed that a person could be a carrier without showing any outward signs of being sick, and it led to most of the Health Code laws on the books today. She died not from typhoid but from the effects of a paralytic stroke dating back to 25 Dec 1932.
September 23, 1852 - September 7, 1922 - William Stewart Halsted - American surgeon who established the first U.S. surgical school. In 1884, he was first to describe injection of cocaine into the trunk of a sensory nerve to block pain transmission. From 1886, he joined research at a pathological laboratory newly-formed in Baltimore, Md. where he developed strict aseptic surgical techniques with fine silk sutures in small stitches and careful tissue handling that gave safer, more effective results. In 1890, Halsted began use of rubber gloves, the year he was appointed first surgeon-in-chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Halsted created there subspecialty divisions such as orthopedics, otolaryngology and urology. His successful training of surgeons was spread as those he taught took up careers at other institutions.
September 27, 1925 - April 10, 2013 - Robert Geoffrey Edwards was a British medical researcher who, with Patrick Steptoe, perfected in-vitro fertilization (IVF) of the human egg. Their technique made possible the birth of Louise Brown, the world's first "test-tube baby," on 25 Jul 1978, to parents that had previously spent nine years trying to start a family. Edwards became the sole recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, in 2010, "for the development of in vitro fertilization." (His colleague, Steptoe could not be a posthumous recipient; he died in 1988.) They began in the late 1960s, but their research had to be privately financed, since the medical establishment found the idea of a "test-tube baby" repugnant. So they worked in a secluded laboratory at a small hospital in Oldham. It took persistence with over 100 frustrating failures before the first success. Millions of births have since been enabled by IVF.
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The Association of Gastrointestinal Motility Disorders, Inc. (AGMD) is a non-profit international organization which relies on membership dues, corporate sponsorship, grants, and the generosity of individuals for funding. In 2016, we commemorated our twenty-fifth anniversary. It was a time to celebrate, but also a time to evaluate if our financial needs could continue to meet our many future goals and programs.
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AGMD serves as an integral educational resource concerning digestive motility diseases and disorders. It also functions as an important information base for members of the medical, scientific, and nutritional communities. In addition, AGMD provides a forum of support for patients suffering from digestive motility disorders as well as their families.
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