Medicine: Intestinal Fortitude

How much guts does it take to survive? Nature supplies man with an average 25 feet, four-fifths of it in the small intestine (comprising the duodenum, ileum and jejunum). Through the small intestine's walls the body absorbs nourishment. When part of this live plumbing becomes diseased, it can be cut out. But doctors have never known exactly how little could be left without dooming the patient to death from malnutrition.

Last week the University of California's Dr. Theodore Leonidowitch Althausen suggested an answer: the human body can readjust itself, and learn to function...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!