As THE pathologist at the Anchorage Alaska Native Medical Center, 1976-80, I had the great privilege of hearing Dennis Burkitt, MD, an N. Irish medical-missionary working in equatorial Africa speak. Not only does he have the first viral-caused,insect-transmitted cancer named after him (Burkitt's Lymphoma), he changed the way we saw the pathophysiology of ColoRectal Cancer (CRC). How did he do this? Cutting edge medicine - observation. He knew that those who ate the western diet, CRC was concentrated in the left-hand of the large intestine, where feces unexpelled would presumably be carcinogenic. Those who ate the African millet-based diet had a lower incidence with the CRC distributed evenly throughout the gut suggesting a genetic predisposition. His observation: the spoor/poops of millet-fiber-rich Africans were HUGE. Those who ate the western diet had small, hard, medieval poops. Guess which group had the faster bowel transit time? Do not overthink, please. Dr Burkitt was known forever more as the fiber doctor.
Nutr Res Rev
. 2018 Jun;31(1):1-15. doi: 10.1017/S0954422417000117. Epub 2017 Jun 6.
Denis Burkitt and the origins of the dietary fibre hypothesis