Journal Mobile

DR Shreeve
Journal Issue: 
Volume 37: Issue 3: 2007




Positioned  in  the  posterior  abdomen, the  pancreas  remained  little observed  until  nineteenth  century  advances  in  physiology, followed  later  in  the century  by  abdominal  surgery, brought  the  organ  into  the  clinical  domain.  The discovery  of  pancreatic  stimulating  hormones  during  the  twentieth  century culminated  in  the  description  of  pancreozymin  by  Harper  and  Raper  in Manchester in 1943. After World War II, Henry T Howat was appointed physician in  that  city  and  was  able  to  analyse  the  results  of  hormonal  stimulation  in pancreatic  disorders.   He  became  the  first  doctor  in  Britain  to  specialise  in pancreatology.  His collaboration with colleagues in Britain and in Europe, through the evolution of specialist societies, encouraged the coordination of basic science, medicine, pathology, radiology and surgery, to further research in, and management of, pancreatic disease. Academic recognition by Manchester University resulted in his  being  appointed  its  first  Professor  of  Gastroenterology  and  originator  of  a gastrointestinal  research  unit.    As  he  pointed  out,  continuing  scientific  and technological  advances  influenced  the  concepts  of  disease,  and  moved  the management  of  pancreatic  disease  from  the  general  physician  and  surgeon  to gastroenterologists. Howat’s  career  illustrates  the  continuing  specialisation witnessed in the latter half of the twentieth century.