Views And Reviews

The subtle microbe

BMJ 1994; 308 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.308.6940.1378 (Published 21 May 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;308:1378
  1. D G Colin-Jones

    “Ulcer Wars” described the discovery in 1982 of Helicobacter pylori by Dr Barry Marshall in Perth, Australia, and tried to assess the impact of this organism on human disease. Many stories of medical advances are painstaking and dull, but not this. The programme was colourful, slightly offbeat, even irreverent. These ingredients made a good story with an appreciable educational content along the way, aided by a clear, well pitched narrative. However, like so many documentaries these days, it gave insufficient time for views contrary to those of the film makers.

    The programme vividly described how H pylori was discovered through serendipity, when a long public holiday over the Easter period in 1982 led to a four day incubation instead of two days, allowing H pylori to be cultured for the first time after …

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