What happened to the British Endoscopy Society 40 years ago?

Many gastroenterologists practicing today may not know that there was once a British Society for Digestive Endoscopy (BSDE). It folded in 1980. What was it, why, and what happened to it? The flexible endoscopy revolution started in the late 60s and blossomed in the 70s. Before that happened, the British Society of Gastroenterology (BSG) had…
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EPISOD revisited …..and validated, thank you Zach

My gastroenterologist readers, if any, (thank you) may recall that I led the team that developed a research study called EPISOD (Evaluating Predictors and Interventions in Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction). The results were published in 2014 (Cotton PB, Durkalski V, Romagnuolo J, et al. A multicenter, randomized trial of endoscopic sphincterotomy for suspected sphincter of…
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New book about Fred the friendly snake

Delighted to confirm that my 6th book about Fred and friends is now available at booksellers and Amazon in hardback, soft cover and ebook versions Signed and personalized copies are available here on this web site Enjoy their fun adventures, including a scary moment when white water rafting

A medicine called “worse than cats”

Some may remember that I posted a piece called “Thinking about placebos and healing”. I thought it was just a few months ago, but it was actually in November 2018. It was stimulated by my surprise and confusion about the fact that most patients undergoing sham procedures in my EPISOD research study did remarkably well,…
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The Middlesex Hospital – what sort of a name is that?

Some of the adventures I have recounted in recent months happened while I was on the Consultant staff of The Middlesex Hospital in London (1973-86). You may wonder about the name, which could be misunderstood. It was called The Middlesex because it was in the County of Middlesex, now part of the city of London.…
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Need some GI updates, with CME?

The Medical University of SC is now offering its weekly Gastroenterology/Hepatology grand rounds virtually at 7am on Wednesdays. Tomorrow, David Whitcomb of Pittsburg will speaks about “Early and effective management of pancreatitis”. Next week I will present “How flexible endoscopy began”. Anyone wishing to participate can contact me or Cindy Peeples at

So many royal connections!

I am running short on anecdotes about royal patients, but do have some other royal connections, about which you are no doubt curious, and maybe envious. Let’s start with Kings. I was born in the little village of Kingstone, near Hereford, in the west of England. Note “Cotton’s Meadow”, which was indeed a meadow across…
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Royal and famous patients 7. A rash dilemma

It is a stretch to call this one a royal patient, but it might amuse. For a while I was a member of the Royal Air Force volunteer reserve. I may have mentioned before that our whole family was into gliding, big time in my youth. When I got to Cambridge University I found, like…
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Royal and famous patients. 6. Bollywood star

A Bollywood mega star was in the news recently, having contracted and happily survived COVID19 Amitabh Bachchan had another close brush with mortality almost 40 years ago, having suffered an injury while filming on location. The severity of his illness led to uncontrolled bleeding, suspected to be coming from an acute stomach “stress ulcer”. I…
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Royal and famous patients 5. A confused politician

I was about to perform an endoscopy procedure on a prominent member of the British cabinet who was known to enjoy a drink or two, who, also like Churchill, had changed political party allegiances several times over his career. When I asked him to turn onto his left side, he turned to the right. He…
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