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Walter Cannon. Portrait of the American physiologist, Walter Bradford Cannon (1871-1945). While still a student at the American university Harvard, he fed a cat a bismuth compound in a meal to make its digestive tract show up on an X-ray. This was the first use of a radio opaque medium and these substances are now commonly used in medical diagnosis. Later Cannon worked on the effect of shock and emotions on the nervous system. He elaborated Claude Bernard's idea of the necessity of a constant internal physiological environment and researched the processes by which this environment is maintained. He coined the term homeostasis to describe these processes.
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