Steatorrhea historical perspective

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Vindhya BellamKonda, M.B.B.S [2]

Historical Perspective

Steato means relating to fatty matter or tissue and rrhea means discharge; flow. So the word means flow of fatty matter. Malabsorption is a condition which is associated with impaired absorption of one or all dietary nutrients. There are multiple etiologies with diminished intestinal absorption. Many of them present with diarrhea, especially steatorrhea. Some of the main causes of steatorrhea are celiac disease, cystic fibrosis, pancreatic insufficiency, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth syndrome. The history of celiac disease dates back to late 1800's when an english scientist described celiac disease.

Historical perspective and Land marks

  • In October 1887, Samuel Gee, an English leading authority in pediatrics, gained the full credit of explanation of celiac disease, presenting a lecture named "celiac affection" to medical students; which was published next year.
  • In 1950, Wim Dicke, a Dutch pediatrician, suggested in his doctoral thesis that elimination of wheat, rye, and oats from diet would result in reasonable cure of celiac disease. He also described the pathological factor gluten in pathophysiology of Celiac disease.[1]d
  • At the same time, Wim Dicke's colleagues, Weijers and Van de Kamer, presented a way to diagnose celiac disease by using stool fat measurement.[2]
  • In late 1960's case of idiopathic steatoeehea and reticulosis of the small bowel as a late complication was reported.[3]
  • Pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy for pancreatic exocrine insufficiency ia an important land mark in the 21st century.[4]
  • The CFTR gene was discovered first in 1989.
  • In 1990, scientists successfully added cloned normal gene to Cystic Fibrosis cells in the laboratory, which corrected the chloride transportation.


  1. Dicke, W. K.; Weijers, H. A.; KAMER, J. H. v. D. (1953). "Coeliac Disease The Presence in Wheat of a Factor Having a Deleterious Effect in Cases of Coeliac Disease". Acta Paediatrica. 42 (1): 34–42. doi:10.1111/j.1651-2227.1953.tb05563.x. ISSN 0803-5253.
  2. Kamer, J. H. Van De; Weijers, H. A.; Dicke, W. K. (1953). "Coeliac Disease: An Investigation into the Injurious Constituents of Wheat in Connection with their Action on Patients with Coeliac Disease". Acta Paediatrica. 42 (3): 223–231. doi:10.1111/j.1651-2227.1953.tb05586.x. ISSN 0803-5253.
  3. PROWSE CB (1950). "Idiopathic steatorrhoea". Proc. R. Soc. Med. 43 (11): 895–6. PMC 2081764. PMID 14797703.
  4. Trang T, Chan J, Graham DY (2014). "Pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy for pancreatic exocrine insufficiency in the 21(st) century". World J. Gastroenterol. 20 (33): 11467–85. doi:10.3748/wjg.v20.i33.11467. PMC 4155341. PMID 25206255.

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