Association of Gastrointestinal Motility Disorders, Inc. (AGMD)
Monthly Online Newsletter
In This Issue
* AGMD New Survey And Last Month's Results
* The Joys And Fears Of Motherhood With A Chronic Illness - Melissa Adams VanHouten
* Chronic Illness And Depression
* Some Helpful Resources For Depression
* Facts About IBD
* AGMD Search And Research
* Personal Insights On Living With Diabetes - AGMD Series Of Interviews With Laura Schmidt
* May In Medical History
May 19, 2018 is World Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Day.
More than 10 million people worldwide live with Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis. On
World IBD Day, we're asking YOU to join with us to build awareness of these debilitating digestive diseases.
Every patient experiences IBD differently. Location, symptoms, and severity all vary, as do the ways the disease can affect you outside of the gut. And all of this is underscored by the awarenesss, understanding, and care that is available where you live.
IBD has no borders - geographic, physical, or emotional. The diseases can affect anyone across the globe, every part of your body, and every part of your life. That's why we need come together to take
World IBD Day!
Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that ravages different parts of the body. An estimated 1.5 million Americans and at least 5 million people worldwide have lupus. No two cases of lupus are alike. Common symptoms include joint pain, skin rashes, overwhelming fatigue and fevers that last for days or weeks. Lupus can also affect the gastrointestinal system. Gastrointestinal involvement may include: dysphagia, gastroesophageal reflux, regurgitation, peptic ulcers, dyspepsia, abdominal pain, dysmotility, gastroparesis, pseudo-obstruction, colonic disease, decreased internal anal sphincter function and bacterial overgrowth. Most people with lupus don't look sick. Lupus can impact any organ or tissue, from the skin or joints to the heart or kidneys. Two leading causes of serious illness and death from lupus are kidney disease and heart disease. Lupus usually develops between ages 15 and 44 and it lasts a lifetime. Lupus can strike anyone, but 90 percent of the people living with lupus are females. Lupus can be difficult to diagnose. There is NO single blood test to diagnose lupus, and its symptoms mimic those of other diseases, vary in intensity and can come and go over time. Early diagnosis is crucial to preventing long-term consequences of the disease. If you notice signs or symptoms of lupus, be sure to engage your doctor and ask questions.
Ehlers-Danlos Awareness Month
Ehlers-Danlos syndromes are a group of connective tissue disorders that can be inherited and that vary both in how affect the body and in their genetic causes. The illness is generally characterized by joint hypermobility (joints that stretch further than normal), skin hyperextensibility (skin that can be stretched further than normal), and tissue fragility. The combined prevalence of all types of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome appears to be at least 1 in 5,000 individuals worldwide. The hypermobile and classical forms are most common; the hypermobile type may affect as many as 1 in 5,000 to 20,000 people, while the classical type probably occurs in 1 in 20,000 to 40,000 people. Other forms of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome are rare, often with only a few cases or affected families described in the medical literature. Gastrointestinal manifestations may include difficulty swallowing, gastrointestinal reflux disease, fullness, bloating, nausea, gastroparesis, constipation, diarrhea, IBS, and small bowel bacterial overgrowth.
Mental Health Awareness
According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI), one in 5 Americans is affected by mental health conditions. Stigma is toxic to their mental health because it creates an environment of shame, fear and silence that prevents many people from seeking help and treatment.
There is a strong relationship between having mental health problems and having gastrointestinal symptoms like heartburn, indigestion, acid reflux, bloating, pain, constipation, and/or diarrhea. Having anxiety and depression can cause changes in the gut microbiome and can lead to gut inflammation that can, in turn, lead to symptoms that mimic those of Parkinson's disease, autism, anxiety and depression.
Fibromyalgia Awareness Day
Since 1998, the National Fibromyalgia Association has celebrated its annual Awareness Day on
to help spread awareness and information about living with the chronic pain and fatigue of fibromyalgia (FM). This year's campaign, "Helping yourself ... while helping others" reminds us that you feel better when you have made an effort to help others living with FM!
Fibromyalgia is one of the most common chronic pain conditions. The disorder affects an estimated 10 million people in the U.S. and an estimated 3-6% of the world population. While it is most prevalent in women - 75-90 percent of the people who have FM are women - it also occurs in men and children of all ethnic groups. The disorder is often seen in families, among siblings or mothers and their children. The diagnosis is usually made between the ages of 20 to 50 years, but the incidence rises with age so that by age 80, approximately 8% of adults meet the American College of Rheumatology classification of fibromyalgia. Chronic widespread body pain is the primary symptom of fibromyalgia. Most people with fibromyalgia also experience moderate to extreme fatigue, sleep disturbances, sensitivity to touch, light, and sound, and cognitive difficulties. Many individuals also experience a number of other symptoms and overlapping conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome, lupus and arthritis.
New - AGMD Monthly Survey
How many doctors did you see before being diagnosed?
The Results Of Last Month's Survey Are Here
Thank you to all who participated in last month's survey! So far we have had 29 respondents. Our ongoing surveys encompass all types of digestive motility disorders and as the poll remains open, we encourage you to share and respond https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/6FDVJH8.
In addition to the yes/no responses above, we also received several comments reflecting upon these experiences. A few commenters commended their doctors' desire to listen and help, while others indicated they felt as if their physician either did not understand their illness or simply refused to listen and offer adequate care options. A few also responded that they had had to try several doctors before finding the one who was knowledgeable and who genuinely heard and understood their concerns but were happy with their current provider. Overall, the yes/no responses were nearly evenly split, with roughly 10% (or 3 respondents) more indicating they felt listened to and believed by their physician currently providing the bulk of their digestive motility care.
The Joys And Fears Of Motherhood
With Chronic Illness
By Melissa Adams VanHouten
As Mother's Day fast approaches, I find myself reflecting on my own role as parent to my 14-year-old daughter, Lilly. I live with a chronic illness, gastroparesis, which leaves no aspect of my life untouched, and, like many in my community, I worry about how my illness impacts my child and sometimes fear it disqualifies me from being a "good" mother.
My ever-looming illness, fraught with pain, nausea, and fatigue, taints all our interactions, and there is never a time when its effects are not felt. I rarely leave my house, at least not for extended periods of time, so our once-common neighborhood walks, visits to the local zoo and shopping trips are largely nonexistent now. I miss most of Lilly's school events and extracurricular activities as well and am absent from nearly all family gatherings, where my husband must act as both father and mother.
I am keenly aware of the disappointment in my daughter's eyes each time I tell her I cannot attend her latest awards ceremony or choir solo, and I note her frustration as she sits by herself in her backyard swing because I am too tired to join her. I witness her envy when her classmates receive the latest technical gadgets and toys and when her friends enjoy lavish vacations we cannot provide because of mounting medical bills and financial pressures. I watch her fret over my well-being when, as she consumes her dinner, I sip a protein drink. I recognize her fight to hold her tongue and show respect when I am worn down and unjustly scolding her for no reason other than my own misdirected anger. I am not unaware of the pain I cause my child nor oblivious to her hardships. If the "good mother" bar is health, then I am failing miserably.
But in my moments of clarity, when I drive my nagging guilt to the furthest recesses of my mind, I realize this is not the bar, and there is, indeed, room for frailty, mistakes and shortcomings. Perfection is not a requirement of good parenting; it merely demands love, effort, and the willingness to forgive, move forward, and try again.
There are difficult days - but there are also small, beautiful moments which define us and remind us we share a bond no illness can break. We share corny jokes and tell over-the-top stories. We watch the latest tearjerkers on home video and share reviews of books we have enjoyed. We sing and dance to "oldies" in the kitchen. We laugh together when Dad "just doesn't get it" and when Lilly playfully teases him about his "outdated," unrealistic expectations. We hold lengthy discussions about her newly-developed political and religious views and speculate about her future career and family life. We sit together silently, lost in our own thoughts, happy to be in the same room. I embrace her when a classmate brings her to tears, and she caresses my back when I am doubled over in pain.
My daughter feels my love, tenderness and support and believes that neither apathy nor lack of desire, but, rather, real physical limitations are at the heart of my shortcomings. She knows she means the world to me and that I would willingly sacrifice everything to further her happiness, and she sees in me a mother who endeavors to overcome daunting challenges and who strives to be the best parent and person she can be within the bounds of her physical limitations.
My role as a mother is to instill in my child a sense of self-worth, an independent spirit, compassion, respect for the dignity and value of others, a desire to impact the world in meaningful, positive ways and the ability to act with discernment in all matters of the heart, mind, and soul. Due to our circumstances, Lilly has faced adversity and understands people are unique, complex individuals who experience all manner of emotional, physical and spiritual challenges - who sometimes fail, despite their best efforts - and she has learned to forgive others and herself. She acknowledges the world abounds with cruelties and injustices, empathizes with those who lack the basic necessities of life, and gives of herself and her possessions to those less fortunate. She recognizes the beautiful souls around her confront uncertain futures, often fraught with pain and anguish, and offers kindness because of the heartaches she herself has endured. And as one who knows struggle, she is determined and tenacious, persists against formidable odds, and puts forth effort even after she has failed time and time again. She is a confident, caring, industrious, determined young lady with standards, morals and values beyond reproach, who sets and accomplishes goals and desires to make the world a better place. Isn't that the goal of parenting?
This article appeared in The Lancet as well as The Mighty.
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.
Chronic Illness And Depression
Depression is a very common occurrence in patients suffering from chronic illness. And in the case of digestive motility disorders, it's certainly no wonder. Digestive motility disorders can affect every aspect of the patient's daily life and the constant adjustments to the patient's betrayed body, can be devastating. Patients may lose their independence, struggle with the diagnosis, prognosis, symptoms, uncertainties, embarrassment, guilt, financial burdens, self-esteem, loneliness and isolation, diminished socialization and a host of other issues.
It is estimated that about one-third of people with a serious medical condition have symptoms of depression. Sometimes, the depression may be temporary as the person adjusts his/her life to their chronic illness. However, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, "Medical research has shown that people who have depression and another medical illness may have more difficulty adapting to their co-occurring illnesses. The risk of depression increases with the severity of the illness and it's impact on the patient's life." Those with chronic illness face a higher risk of depression. As a result of depression,
symptoms can escalate ... pain may intensify, fatigue may worsen and the isolation may become more pronounced.
Certain factors may increase the propensity of having a mental health disorder and a chronic disease. These may include the following:
- A family history of mental health problems
- Stressful life conditions
- Having a chronic disease
- Traumatic experience
- Use of illegal drugs
- Childhood abuse or neglect
- Lack of social support
Both chronic illness and chronic disease can affect anyone of any age, ethnicity, gender, location, or income status. According to the National Health Workforce, "Approximately, 26% of American adults aged 18 years and older suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year."
It's unfortunate that people often overlook symptoms of depression in chronically ill patients. "Many assume that it is normal to feel down when struggling with chronic illness. What's more, the symptoms of depression are also often masked by other medical problems. The symptoms get treated but not the underlying depression. When you have both a chronic illness and depression, both need to be treated at that same time."
Some patients may hide their depression and it can be overlooked by physicians and family members. Some patients may feel that admitting depression is a sign of weakness, a stigma or fearful that their chronic illness and their symptoms will not be taken seriously, but instead, attributed to
. These are genuine concerns; however, it's important to address depression with their physicians so they can provide help.
Note that there can be many tell-tale signs that a person is depressed. Some of the signs, however, may overlap with medical problems. If you notice a change in behavior or if you feel that you may be suffering from depression, it's important to consider seeking professional help.
Some of the signs of depression include:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Inability to sleep or sleeping too much
- Loss of interest in friends, hobbies, work, sex and other daily activities
- Fatigue and loss of energy
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Feelings of guilt
- Difficulty make decisions
- Mood swings
- Overwhelming feeling of sadness
- Loss of appetite
- Frequent thoughts of death or suicide
It can be extremely challenging trying to cope with digestive motility disorders. People may not believe you are ill because there may not be any physical signs, there may be few if any treatments available, symptoms can be unpredictable, one may be
to a bathroom, unable to leave his/her home, plagued by fear if something happens in public, countless doctor appointments, tests and hospitalizations, crumbled relationships, financial burdens, and loss of purpose ... the list seems endless. But, obtaining help in your quest to cope with your journey of chronic illness, is essential.
If you have a digestive motility disorder and are experiencing symptoms of depression or difficulty trying to cope, take the first step and seek professional help. And you are always welcome to contact the Association of Gastrointestinal Motility Disorders, Inc. | AGMD | and participate in our support programs. You will soon learn that you are not alone in your journey. Others are going through similar experiences and truly understand what you are going through.
Facts About IBD
Did you know that 3 million Americans are living with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)?
While the exact cause of IBD is unknown, evidence suggests that a combination of genetic, immune and environmental factors play a role. People with a family history are 10 times more likely to develop the condition than those with no family history.
The two principal types of IBD are Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis (UC). Crohn's disease is a chronic inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract and may affect any part from the mouth to the anus. UC is a chronic inflammatory condition limited to the colon, otherwise known as the large intestine.
Both Crohn's disease and UC are marked by an abnormal response by the body's immune system. The immune system is composed of various cells and proteins. Normally, these protect the body from infection. In people with an IBD, the immune system
mistakes benign or beneficial cells and bacteria for harmful foreign substances. In an effort to rid the body of what it perceives as a danger, your immune system can produce the symptoms of IBD and harm your GI tract.
It is often difficult to diagnose which form of IBD a patient is suffering from because both Crohn's Disease and ulcerative colitis cause similar symptoms.
Symptoms related to inflammation of the GI tract:
- Rectal bleeding
- Abdominal cramps and pain
- Sensation of incomplete evacuation
- Constipation (can lead to bowel obstruction)
General symptoms that may also be associated with IBD:
- Loss of appetite
- Weight Loss
- Night sweats
- Loss of normal menstrual cycle
Seventy-four percent of inflammatory bowel sufferers experience bowel incontinence. And the prevalence of IBD appears to be on the rise, with diagnoses up 50% since 1999.
Here are some common myths and misunderstanding about IBD:
- IBD is just a bathroom disease. IBD is a chronic disease that causes permanent damage to the gastrointestinal tract, and it can impact the whole body.
- IBD is caused by what you eat. IBD is an autoimmune disease. While patients may report that certain foods can trigger a flare up, diet cannot cause or cure IBD.
- IBD is the same as IBS. While some of the symptoms overlap, IBD and IBS are dramatically different. IBD causes inflammation in the digestive tract. IBS is a functional gastrointestinal disorder.
- IBD can be cured. There is no known cure for Crohn's disease or Ulcerative Colitis.
AGMD is grateful to Jodi Meltzer,
Stakeholder and Media Relations Director
Cullari Communications Global,
for reaching out to AGMD to participate in "Walk In My Shoes," a simulation of what it may be like to have IBD. Special thanks also to Takeda for initiating and creating the simulation.
AGMD Search And Research
The AGMD has started a new section of interest to our members. We encourage patients and family members to submit questions and/or responses to
. When responding, please indicate the question number you are answering.
It is always humbling when a person is willing to post a question in desperate need of a response and also to see those who going through difficulties, willing to reach out to others to help. We hope you will take a moment to send in your questions and/or responses to those who have posted inquiries.
#1. Question: Ten years ago, I was diagnosed with gastroparesis and I'm having more trouble coping than ever before. The depression and anxiety are off the charts. Although I have an appointment with a psychiatrist, they seem to have no idea how to deal with a gastroparesis patient. I am a 54-year-old female and feel lost.
(Extracted from our AGMD Inspire site)
Dear Friend, I am 65 and would never have thought
that I would have to seek psychiatric help for ANYTHING! When I turned 60 five years ago, that opinion had to change. I tried my hardest to overcome the minute by minute anxiety and depression, but to no avail. I have lived in two different states over the last five years, and have been fortunate enough to have found excellent psychiatrists. Something that really helped me to explain my illness to my therapists was giving them the book, "Living With Gastroparesis" by Crystal Saltrelli, CHC. The book chronicles her journey with Gastroparesis and was a helpful resource for me in understanding the why's and how's to live daily with the "disease." It explains the physiology of GP which furthers the therapists understanding of your mental state. I truly dislike taking drugs but with the above info. the therapist can then begin experimenting with drugs that best fit you. Have patience and perseverance- you can find peace and calmness. (Kate Piccolotti)
#1. Response: I'm sorry to hear that you suffer from anxiety and depression along with gastroparesis. It can be extremely difficult to cope with gastroparesis as it affects so much of our lives. Perhaps you might consider seeing a different psychiatrist who might be more in tune to what you are going through.
I'm guessing I'm not alone in this. My workplace has regularly scheduled lunches and this presents two problems for me. First, there are times when I can't eat any of the food available in which case, I just have something to drink. This is awkward though because everyone else is eating. Also, people inevitably, ask me why I'm not eating. I just tell them I have a gastrointestinal disease and leave it at that. Second, the appetite has nothing to do with when most people get hungry, (breakfast in the morning, lunch around noon and dinner in the evening.) The problem is that when food is presented that I can eat, I might not be at all hungry at the time. For example, today, something was served that I could eat and I ate it, but now I don't feel well because I wasn't truly hungry enough. I suppose in the future I can do what I mentioned for the first issue: simply have something to drink. What do others do? Do you have strategies you've come up with that work?
(Extracted from our AGMD Inspire site)
#2. Response: I will either bring my own meal or snack with me or just inform people that I have gastrointestinal problems. I also join in by drinking a beverage instead of eating if I can. (Maureen Keefe)
#3. Question: I have had tons of issues in the past with my stomach up until recent everyone just kept telling me it was IBS. I have a bunch of food intolerances, dairy, gluten, heavy sugars which I think causes most of the IBS for me not stress. I was recently diagnosed this fall with Gastroparesis, this was my 2nd test. The first test years ago was normal. This time they used gluten free bread for me. I'm not sure if that matters. My gastric emptying test showed 1 hr 96%, 2 hr 82%, 3 hr 42% and 4 hr 17%. The odd thing is, mostly before this diagnosis, I was predominantly IBS-D although it was mixed. So now its gastroparesis? I still occasionally get bouts of diarrhea, but it is rare. My doctor had put me on Cymbalta to control the IBS-D and the joint pain and it works well. So does anyone else have gastroparesis and get bouts of diarrhea? My guess is its when I eat the intolerant foods I can't have that seem to do it, especially dairy and heavy sugar. My doctor said it can happen because gastroparesis is in the upper stomach and IBS in the lower intestines. I am just confused because reading up on it, it sounds like dumping syndrome, which is the exact opposite of gastroparesis. I am also plagued with extreme tiredness more times than not. Does anyone else have this? I feel like I have far more tired days than non-tired days and it is definitely worse after I eat. Please help! (Extracted from AGMD Inspire site)
AGMD appreciates all those who submit questions as well as those who respond!
Interested in joining our AGMD Inspire site? Visit: AGMDInspire.
Personal Insights On Living With Diabetes
AGMD Series Of Interview With
In order to gain a better personal perspective of life with diabetes, AGMD will be conducting a series of short interviews with Laura Schmidt.
Question: Have you ever had any complications as a result of your diabetes? If so, at what age did these complications occur?
Answer: Yes. I have had many complications as a result of diabetes. Having been diagnosed with diabetes at the age of ten, my complications started with severe dehydration. This was ongoing from the diagnosis to later much later in my life. Now I drink water constantly.
As a teenager, I was diagnosed with Diabetic Ketoacidosis, (DKA). DKA is a life-threatening problem that may affect people with diabetes, although rare in Type 2 diabetes. DKA can lead to diabetic coma or even death. When the cells in the body don't get enough glucose, the body starts breaking down fat to use for energy, at a very rapid pace. The liver processes the the fat into fuel called ketones, which causes the blood to become too acidic.
And then, at the age of 18, I developed a massive hemorrhage in my right eye causing complete blindness, but, thankfully, for only six months. I had a vitrectomy to clear the blood from my eye and regain my sight. Both of my eyes needed multiple treatments for years following the initial hemorrhage. I ended up losing most of my peripheral vision as a result. Then at the age of 19, I got an extremely severe kidney infection that nearly killed me.
In my early 20s, I began to develop neuropathy. It greatly affects my hands. It also affects my feet, but it's not as troublesome.
I had GI issues for years, but no one knew why. At the age of 31, I was finally diagnosed with gastroparesis.
Question: Can you explain a bit about your neuropathy?
Answer: I have neuropathy throughout my entire body. The first sign that I could tell was a tingling and burning feeling in my hands along with pain and numbness. Although I do not experience much pain in my feet, I have other neuropathic complications such as non-healing bumps and bruises, swelling and an occasionally shooting pain. I also experience lack of body temperature control and night sweats along with GI issues.
Question: When did you develop gastroparesis?
Answer: Although I developed gastroparesis in my mid-twenties, I wasn't diagnosed until the age of 31.
Question. What prompted you to seek help regarding your symptoms of gastroparesis?
Answer: One night, I started vomiting and could not stop. Especially being a Type 1 diabetic, such episodes of vomiting could quickly lead to dehydration and affect blood sugar levels.
Question: How were you diagnosed at that time?
Answer: I went to a number of different hospitals before being in one hospital where one night, the GI on call came in after literally, just having attended a symposium a few weeks prior where gastroparesis was discussed. He had an intern with him and showed him my vomit, which they described as looking like coffee grounds. The doctor then did an endoscopy and it took him 1 1/2 hours to scoop out all the food out of my stomach and cauterize 20 ulcers.
Question: Once you were diagnosed, were you ever given any information about gastroparesis?
Answer: No. Other than that doctor, no one seemed to know what it was or anything about it.
Question: When were you presented the option of the Medtronic Enterra Neurogastricstimulator?
Answer: Almost nearly two years and 26 five-day hospital stays, my primary care doctor looked on a medical website (personal computers were in their infancy, so Google was not available) and found an article about the Medtronic neurogastricstimulator written by Dr. Richard McCallum.
Question: What information were you told at that time about the Neurogastricstimulator?
Answer: I had a copy of the article, which described me to a tee. Two weeks later, I received further materials by the doctors performing the FDA Enterra neurogastricstimulator study. Although it was a lot of information, it gave me hope.
May In Medical History
May 1, 1845 - June 13, 1899 - Robert Lawon Tait - The development of gynecology as a specialty, although primarily American in origin, was influenced in large degree by Robert Lawson Tait, a brilliant Scottish/English surgeon who practiced in the late 19th century. Tait, a self-proclaimed gynecologist, is perhaps most widely known as the first to perform salpingectomy to treat ruptured tubal pregnancy. He was also the first to record removal of an ovary for relief of pelvic pain and to induce menopause, perform salpingectomy for the treatment of tubal disease, and develop the technique of transverse transperineal repair of low rectovaginal fistulas. His scrupulous cleanliness was undoubtedly the forerunner of our modern aseptic methods. Tait's bold, innovative surgical techniques led to a significant decrease in surgical mortality, and his prescient, aggressive approach was at the forefront of changes in the practice of obstetrics, which resulted in a marked decrease in maternal morbidity and mortality. This master teacher, whose contributions inspired the next great generation of abdominal and pelvic surgeons, deserves greater recognition within our specialty.
May 6, 1806 - August 25, 1906 - Chapin Aaron Harris - American dentist who was one of the founders of dentistry as a profession. He began as a partner in his brother's medical practice (1827). The next year, he turned to dentistry full-time until 1835, during which time he moved to Baltimore and began a prodigious output of scientific articles and several books, including his most influential text, The Dental Art: A Practical Treatise on Dental Surgery (1839). He was a co-founder of the first dental school in the world, Baltimore College of Dental Surgery (1840), and c-ofounder of the first dental journal in the world, the American Journal of Dental Science (1849), serving as its editor for over 20 years. He is credited for placing dental education, literature, and organization on a permanent basis.
May 16, 1850 - June 4, 1905 - Johannes von Mikulicz-Radecki - Polish surgeon whose innovations in operative technique for a wide variety of diseases helped develop modern surgery. He contributed prodigiously to cancer surgery, especially on organs of the digestive system. He was first to suture a perforated gastric ulcer (1885), surgically restore part of the oesophagus (1886), remove a malignant part of the colon (1903), and describe what is now known as Mikulicz' disease. In 1881 he developed improved models of the oesophagoscope and gastroscope. As an ardent advocate of antiseptics he did much to popularize Joseph Lister's antiseptic methods. He used a gauze mask and was one of the first to use gloves during surgery.
May 21, 1922 - June 13, 2013 -
Robert A. Good
of modern immunology who
the world's first successful human
transplant (1968) from his sister to a 4-month-old baby boy with an inherited immune disorder. From age 6, Good wished to become a doctor because his father died of cancer. While a junior undergraduate he suffered but recovered from a polio like disease. He identified the thymus and the tonsils as crucial organs of the immune system in humans. He helped establish that problems with the body's immune response were more common than had been thought and were actually a frequent basis of serious diseases. His research also led to the identification of T-cells and B-cells. In 1987 he helped establish the National Bone Marrow Registry.
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