Ephedrine Slows Digestive Process

Science found a new emergency brake for the human stomach today.

It was the drug ephedrine, widely used in the treatment of asthma and hay fever.

The drug slows the digestive machine down to about half its normal speed, three West Virginia medical men reported in the Journal of the American Medical association.

The new brake would be useful in cases of stomach disorders where as little digestive disturbance as possible is desired.

In cases of asthma and hay fever, however, the slowing up process would be of little or no use and the Journal announcement advised physicians to keep careful watch of the diets of patients to whom ephedrine was regularly administered.

Ephedrine has already been known to act as a brake on the digestive fluids, and the West Virginians, Dr. Edward J. Van Liere and Donald H. Lough and Clark K. Sleeth, all of Morgantown, tested its efficacy on the emptying time of the stomach.

Six healthy male university students were chosen for the experiments. They were fed a test meal of 15 grams of a hot breakfast food, boiled in 350 cubic centimeters of water until it reaches a total volume of 200 cubic centimeters. A gram of salt was added for flavor, and 50 grams of barium sulphate to permit fluoroscopic examination of the stomach.

The normal average digestion time was determined, and then a gram of ephedrine sulphate in three ounces of water was given about twenty minutes before the meal.