April 2, 1807
Dr Samuel Argent Bardsley begins his case series on treating diabetes using Dr Rollo's "rigid use of animal diet"
Medical reports of cases and experiments, with observations, chiefly derived from hospital practice: to which are added, an enquiry into the origin of canine madness; and thoughts on a plan for its extirpation from the British isles
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It is only of late that any consistent and rational attempts have been made to explain the phenomena of this singular and obstinate disease and to establish a proper mode of cure. To the ancients we are indebted for little more than a history of the disorder by Aretaeus; which has been faithfully transcribed by all subsequent systematic writers, without addition or improvement, till the time of Dr. Willis. This writer first pointed out the remarkable properties of sweetness to the taste, and honey-like smell, in diabetic urine; and thus, by establishing a more decided and specific character of the disease, subsequent practitioners were enabled to distinguish it from many others, with which it had formerly been confounded. Hence, since Dr. Willis's discovery, diabetes has been more frequently noticed; and this, I imagine, has given rise to the erroneous hypothesis, of its being a more common disease in modern, than in ancient times. No further improvement in its history or theory seems to have taken place until Dr. Dobson discovered, by chemical analysis;, the existence of sugar in diabetic urine; and also pointed out the sweet taste and wheyish appearance in the serum of the blood. From hints which he derived from Dr. Cullen and his own experiments, he was led to consider diabetes as a species of imperfect digestion and assimilation. This idea of the nature of the disease was adopted confirmed, and further extended by Dr. Home. He may be said to have first opened the mine which Dr. Rollo and Mr. Cruickshank have so successfully explored. Dr. Home seems indeed to have erred in not steadily adapting his practice to his theory and in too hastily considering both the one and the other as defective, if not nugatory, merely from his want of success in two cases of very long standing.
To the ingenuity and industry of Dr. Rollo and his coadjutor, Mr. Cruickshank, in the treatment of diabetes, every praise is certainly due. For Dr. Home had abandoned the field of enquiry to future practitioners ; but Dr. Rollo judiciously pursued the tract of his predecessor which in the end led him to success* This success; may be attributed to the revival of the practice which Dr. Home justly takes credit to himself for having first adopted; viz. The employment of animal diet> and air kalies with a view to their specific operation as septics. Indeed this idea of preventing the formation of sugar by the abstraction of vegetable food and of establishing a more perfect assimilation throughout the whole system by the rigid use of animal diet and medicinal septics forms the principal part, if not the entire basis of Dr. Rollo's plan. To this author then, we owe the revival of a practice, which had fallen into disuse, and would probably have sunk into entire oblivion bad not he, by the publication, and extended circulation of Captain Meredith's case, (in which -Dr. Home's principles and practice are judiciously applied and improved) roused the attention of practitioners to the subject ; and enabled them to form more correct notions of the nature and treatment of diabetes.
This is by no means a common disease for I believe there are many practitioners who have the care of extensive public Hospitals, to whom cases of diabetes have never occurred *. It has been my lot to see several instances of the kind ; and I have endeavored to avail myself of the principles and practice laid down by Dr. Rollo and other writers on the treatment of this stubborn and too often fatal disease ; with what success will be seen in the sequel.
I shall now proceed to give an abstract from my Infirmary register and private notep, of the several diabetic cases which have fallen under my care. Two of them, which were lately admitted, at the same time, into the Infirmary have afforded me a favorable opportunity of comparing the result of different modes of practice, and establishing, very satisfactorily, some important conclusions. With these patients I took much pains and I feel myself justified in reporting their cases more at large.