Burrill Bernard Crohn bigraphy, stories - American gastroenterologist

Burrill Bernard Crohn : biography

June 13, 1884 - July 29, 1983

Burrill B. Crohn (June 13, 1884 – July 29, 1983) was an American gastroenterologist and one of the first to describe the disease for which he is known, Crohn's disease.


  • , PDF of article by Henry D. Janowitz, M.D. (Mount Sinai Medical Center)
  • at Mount Sinai website
  • from The New York Times

Category:Gastroenterologists Category:American physicians Category:American Jews Category:Columbia University alumni Category:1884 births Category:1983 deaths

Life and work

In 1932, Dr. Crohn and two colleagues, Dr. Leon Ginzburg and Dr. Gordon Oppenheimer, published an important paper describing the then-relatively unknown condition. Their seminal paper, "Terminal Ileitis: A new clinical entity," documenting fourteen cases. The name of the disease was changed to "Regional ileitis" on publication.

At the time that he and his colleagues described the disease, Dr. Crohn had a private practice in New York City and usually admitted his patients for diagnosis and treatment to The Mount Sinai Hospital. At Mount Sinai he worked with the neurologist Bernard Sachs (1858–1944). He also spent time working with Jesse Shapiro, M.D., another doctor very involved with Crohn's research. As Dr. Shapiro had been diagnosed with Crohn's himself, he had a born devotion to curing the disease. There, Dr. Crohn soon built a very large and successful practice for patients with granulomatous enterocolitis and eventually was made the chief of the division of gastroenterology. He was highly respected throughout the remainder his professional career and received numerous patients from all over the USA, as well as from abroad.

Some of Crohn's initial research into the causes of the disease was centered around his personal conviction that it was caused by the same pathogen, a bacterium called Mycobacterium paratuberculosis (MAP), responsible for the similar condition that afflicts cattle called Johne's disease. However, he was unable to isolate the pathogen—most likely because M. paratuberculosis sheds its cellular wall in humans and takes the form of a spheroplast, making it virtually undetectable under an optical microscope. This theory has resurfaced in recent years, and has been lent more credence with the arrival of more sophisticated methods of identifying MAP bacteria.

Crohn practiced medicine until he was 90, splitting time in his later years between the Upper East Side of Manhattan and at a country home in New Milford, Connecticut, where he met his second wife, Rose Elbogen Crohn, whom he married in 1947 . The Burrill B. Crohn Research Foundation was established at Mount Sinai in 1983 with initial funding from Rose Crohn and later his daughter, Ruth Crohn Dickler.

Living octopus

Living octopus

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