Medicine: Emergency at Walter Reed

The human digestive tract can become inflamed anywhere along its 25-to-35-ft. length from gullet to anus. Inflammation of the stomach (gastritis) or large bowel (colitis) is common. For reasons that medical researchers have not yet fathomed, inflammation of the ileum, the lower third of the small bowel, is far less common. It escaped description as a recognized disease until 1932, when Dr. Burrill Crohn, of Manhattan's Mount Sinai Hospital, listed its symptoms and put a name to it: regional ileitis. Usually it is limited to the last couple of loops in the small...

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