Category: Physiology

  • Insipid diabetes

    Insipid diabetes

    A disease of 1769 becomes a treatment in 2015The Edinburgh physician William Cullen described the difference between ‘sweet’ diabetes (mellitus = honey), and rare cases where the urine tasted ‘insipid’, in 1769. There were no dipsticks then, so the basis of distinction was indeed taste. There is huge variation in how much people drink. But…

  • Nephrotic syndrome starts at the glomerulus

    Nephrotic syndrome starts at the glomerulus

    The salamander kidney gives the final proof in 1938 A spotted salamander (Wikimedia Commons, see below) It was only in the 1930s that mainstream opinion accepted that the glomerulus was the problem in nephrotic syndrome – surprisingly late. But then it was only in 1924 that it was finally proven that the glomerulus is a…

  • The glomerulus is a filter

    The glomerulus is a filter

    Physiologists resolve an anatomical impasse, 1924 Illustrations of Malpighian bodies, from Bowman 1842, Philosophical Transactions 132: 57-80 (p78).  Wellcome Library (M0011305) – Creative Commons licence Malpighi spots glomeruli, 1666The first microscopes emerged in the Netherlands in the 1600s, early discoveries being associated with Antonie van Leeuwenhoek in the Netherlands, Robert Hooke in England, and Marcello…