The rate at which information has accumulated during recent years has almost outstripped the capacity of individuals to maintain a comparable rate of intellectual progress. In particular, one of the main issues has been the inability of the accumulated information within different disciplines to become available to individuals working in related but separate areas. In many instances, solutions to a problem that exists in one field of medicine are in place in another discipline, but often remain unknown to different groups. The evolution of gastrointestinal physiology, pharmacology, and clinical medicine is a classic example of the major acceleration in information generation and application, with subsequent some-times less than optimal cross-fertilization of paralled fields of endeavor.
The primary purpose of this meeting was to bring together experts on a number of different cell and organ systems within the gastrointestinal tract. The development of topic sessions made possible discussion of the current stat of investigative work with colleagues of comparable skill and expertise, familiar with alternative but related areas of investigation. This unique opportunity for physiologists, pharmacologists, cell biologists, and clinicians to participate in a high-level interaction was aimed at providing a substantial base to support future collaborative and interactive projects. The proceedings of the meeting have been published in order to furnish an overview of the current state of investigation on a wide range of different areas within the gastrointestinal tract. In addition, a personal review statement by the chairman of each sessionĀ  has been included in order to place individual topics into a current perspective.
While territorial imperatives have often confounded the aspiration of states and their leaders, it seems important in this day and age that science, and medicine in particular, not fall victim to such situations. Only by the constant interface of different but related disciplines will the complex and multifactorial issues relevant to the solution of pertinent physiological and clinical issues be resolved. The ability of perspicacious individuals to combine their intellectual resources in moving forward the boundaries of knowledge is paramount in enabling the health of our society to prosper.

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