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They were filled, according to Reaumer's method, with pieces of meat. Stevens inaugural dissertation, De alimentorum concoctione, (1777) presented with ingenuity and insight his experiments and observations on gastric digestion, and clearly confirmed him as the first investigator to isolate human gastric juice.
After a certain length of time, he would have the sword swallower disgorge the tubes, and in this way he observed to what degree the process of digestion had taken place. It removed the confusion and contradictions presented in the doctrines of fermentation and trituration, the latter championed by Leeuwenhoek, Borelli, Pitcairn, and Pecquet, and decried by Astruc and Stephen Hales.
Stevens confirmed this, isolated human gastric juice, and performed experiments both in vitro and in vivo in man and animals.It was through the good offices of a sword-swallower that the Scotch physician, Dr.Edward Stevens, was enabled to make his experiments on digestion in 1777. 1777 Stevens graduated with his MD at the University of Edinburgh with his thesis paper in Latin "Dissertatio inauguralis de alimentorum concoctione" (1777). Stevens had a sword swallower swallow small metallic tubes pierced with holes.At Edinburgh he was awarded the Harveian prize for an experimental inquiry on the red color of the blood. Croix about 1783 and practiced medicine there for ten years. where he received public support from Alexander Hamilton and became embroiled in a controversy with Benjamin Rush over methods of treating yellow fever in the great epidemic of that year.On 18 April 1794 he was admitted to the American Philosophical Society, and the following year he was appointed professor of the practice of medicine in Kings College (later Columbia University). He undoubtedly was familiar with Stevens work; indeed, his experiments with bullfrogs and small frogs are reminiscent of Stevens observations of partially digested small fish inside larger ones.
It was also probably the sword-swallower who showed the physicians to what extent the pharynx could be habituated to contract, and from this resulted the invention of the tube of Faucher, the esophageal sound, lavage of the stomach, and illumination of this organ by electric light. from Kings College (now Columbia University) in 1774; and the following year he began studies at the University of Edinburgh, enrolling in the medical school in 1776 and again in 1777. It also repudiated such views as those of John Pringle and David Macbride.