Ismar Isidor Boas

Born 1858
Died 1938

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German physician and gastroenterologist, born March 28, 1858, in Exin, province of Posen; died March 15, 1938, Vienna.

Biography of Ismar Isidor Boas

Ismar Isidor Boas was the son of a lesser merchant. He studied in Berlin as the pupil of Carl Anton Ewald (1845-1915), then in Halle and Leipzig. He received his doctorate in Halle in 1881, then went to Leipzig to pass his state examinations. From 1882 to 1886 was a general practitioner in Berlin, and subsequently joined professor Ewald, with whom he had been close as a student, in Berlin as his assistant and private secretary at the Augusta Hospital. Here, influenced by Ewald, he concerned himself with the physiology and pathology of digestion, which enabled him, in 1886, to become the first licensed specialist of diseases of the gastro-intestinal system in Germany.

Shortly after Kussmaul's introduction of the gastric tube, Boas and Ewald introduced the test meal to measure gastric secretion, and Boas rapidly gained an international reputation in gastroenterology.

In 1886 he founded the first policlinic for diseases of the stomach and the intestines in Germany, in which he was to educate numerous students from all parts of the world. From 1886 he was active as specialist on metabolic diseases in Berlin.

Boas was the first to recognise "occult blood" and pioneered its use in patient investigation. In 1895 he founded the medical journal Archiv für Verdauungs-Krankheiten, the first journal devoted to the subject of gastro-enterology, and in 1920 set up the German gastroenterological society. He left Berlin for Vienna in 1936 with the rise of the Nazis and died there two years later as Austria too succumbed to Nazism.

We thank Søren Nørby, Denmark, for information submitted.

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