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Robert Crane, biochemist who created oral rehydration therapy (ORT), dies

Dr. Robert Crane in 2009

Dr. Robert Kellogg Crane, a biochemist whose discoveries about how salt and sugar are absorbed by the body led to the development of oral rehydration therapy (ORT), has died on 31 October 2010 at the age of 90.

ORT is used to treat people, especially children, with diarrhoea and cholera and has been credited with saving millions of lives, particularly in developing countries.

Dr. Crane was researching metabolism at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis when he discovered that sodium and glucose are most efficiently absorbed in the small intestine when mixed. The breakthrough was described in 1978 as “potentially the most important medical advance this century” by The Lancet.

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