I

was

aware

of

famous

self-experiments

because

I

read

the

history

of

John

Hunter’s

self-infection

with

gonorrhea

and

syphilis

(which

may

have

caused

his

death

years

later).

However,

I

had

been

arguing

with

the

skeptics

for

two

years

and

had

no

animal

model

that

could

prove

H

pylori

was

a

pathogen.

If

I

was

right,

then

anyone

was

susceptible

to

the

bug

and

would

develop

gastritis

and

maybe

an

ulcer

years

later.

So

I

expected

to

develop

an

asymptomatic

infection.

The

experiment

was

planned

with

a

culture

from

a

patient

with

dyspepsia

and

confirmation

that

it

was

sensitive

to

metronidazole.

Then

I

underwent

endoscopy

in

early

July

1984

to

confirm

that

I

was

negative

for

H

pylori.

Three

weeks

later,

I

drank

the

‘brew’

which

was

a

suspension

of

two

culture

plates

of

the

organism.

If

only

I

knew

that

people

would

be

so

interested,

I

would

have

taken

a

photograph!

After

five

days,

I

started

to

have

bloating

and

fullness

after

the

evening

meal,

and

my

appetite

decreased.

My

breath

was

bad

and

I

vomited

clear

watery

liquid,

without

acid,

each

morning

at

approximately

06:00.

Then,

a

follow-up

endoscopy

showed

severe

active

gastritis

with

polymorphonuclear

infiltrate

and

epithelial

damage.

Evidently,

H

pylori

was

a

pathogen

for

normal

people.

The

ulcer

did

not

merely

set

you

up

for

catching

the

infection.

People

with

asymptomatic

H

pylori

were

‘carriers’

and

most

people

did

not

have

ulcers

from

the

bacterium.

Gastritis

was

explained.

After

14

days,

I

repeated

the

endoscopy

and

then,

before

the

results

were

known,

began

taking

antibiotics

(on

my

wife’s

orders!).

However

H

pylori

were

not

seen

on

that

biopsy

so

I

might

have

already

had

a

spontaneous

cure.

Robin

Warren

believes

that

the

bacteria

were

still

lurking

and

would

have

been

detected

on

culture,

but

by

then

I

was

already

treated.

The

paper

was

published

in

the

third

person,

but

it

gradually

became

known

that

the

‘male

volunteer’ was me.

A GASTRITE DE

BARRY MARSHALL

from Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology

Barry Marshall ganhou o prémio

Nobel da medicina em 2005