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History - Diabetes Mellitus

disease, urine and century


But few words need be said here concerning the history of the disease. Diabetes was apparently known to the oldest medical writers, for unmistakable references to the disease are found in the writings of ancient Indian physicians and also in the works of the Roman Celsus and of the Greek Aretfens (both iu the first century after Christ). They speak of an affection which is accompanied by the passage to pass through) of enormous amounts of urine, unquenchable thirst, and emaciation. From that time the disease was frequently treated of in the writings of the ancients, but no more definite description of the affection was given.

The discovery of sugar in the urine of diabetics was first made in the seventeenth century by Thomas Willis, an Englishman, and rested upon the appreciation of a sweet taste in the urine. Another Englishman, M. Dobson (1775), was the first who actually obtained sugar from the urine. After this characteristic symptom became generally known, many celebrated physicians in later periods ren dered valuable service in their descriptions of the disease. Among

those most deserving of mention in this connection I would name John Rollo and W. Prout in England, and Bouchardat and Mialhe in France.

Definite scientific investigations into the causes and nature of the disease were first begun, however, about the middle of the present century. They date from the celebrated experiments of Claude Ber nard, which are well known to every investigator under the name of sugar-puncture (pipire, Zuckerstich). Since that time the literature of diabetes has grown to enormous dimensions, and in the study of no disease have more experiments upon man and animals been made. The names which stand out most prominently in connection with the development of our knowledge, both theoretical and practical, of this disorder are the following : Claude Bernard, Boucliardat, Briicke, Can tani, Dickinson, Ebstein, Frerichs, F. A. Hoffmann, Kfilz, L4corche, von Mering, Minkowski, Naunyn, Pavy, Seegen, and C. von Volt.