Timeline to 1900

This entry lists some of the milestones along the road to our modern understanding of diabetes in chronological order

Milestones in Diabetes

~ 600 BC Honey urine described by Susruta

~200 BC First use of the word "diabetes" by Demetrius of Apamea

~ 100 AD Classic description of diabetes by Aretaeus of Cappadocia

~1000 Avicenna describes the sweet taste of the urine

1674 Thomas Willis describes the sweet taste of the urine

1682 JC Brunner reports that pancreatectomy in a dog resulted in extreme thirst and polyuria, but does not taste the urine.

1776 Matthew Dobson isolates a fermentable sugar from the urine and describes the sweet taste of diabetic serum.

1778 Thomas Cawley describes a case of diabetes associated with pancreatic stones. Similar cases described by von Recklinghausen (1864) and Lancereaux (1877).

1792 JP Frank distinguishes between diabetes mellitus and diabetes insipidus

1797 Rollo publishes his meat diet for diabetes

1807 Chevreul shows that glucose is the sugar present in urine.

1831 Non-calculous pancreatic disease described in association with diabetes by Richard Bright; later reports by Apollinaire Bouchardat (1851) and Frerichs (1884)

1841 Trommer describes a chemical test for glucose in the urine, later followed by alternative methods described by Fehling (1848), Frederick William Pavy (1879) and Benedict (1911)

1855 Claude Bernard first uses the term internal secretion when referring to the secretion of glucose into the blood stream by the liver. He also introduced the term glycogen (the glucose maker) for the storage form of glucose in the liver.

1869 Paul Langerhans describes the pancreatic islets

1871 Trosier describes bronzed diabetes due to Haemochromatosis; more detailed description by von Recklinghausen in 1889

1874 Adolf Kussmaul describes the “air hunger” of diabetic ketoacidosis in association with circulating acetone; the presence of β-hydroxybutyrate was identified in 1883. Naunyn coins the term acidosis in 1906.

1884 Frerichs reports that 10% of his patients have a family history of diabetes.

1889 Oskar Minkowski shows that pancreatectomy produces diabetes in dogs.

1890 Murray successfully injects an extract of sheep thyroid to treat hypothyroidism; oral extracts soon shown to be equally effective. The first example of successful hormone replacement therapy.

1893 Laguesse names the pancreatic islets for Paul Langerhans; Hédon shows that a pancreatic grafts under the skin can prevent or reverse diabetes and infers the existence of a circulating factor.


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