Graves Lecture 1961

13/09/1961 in Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, 6, Kildare Street, Dublin 2

Dr. Michael Ivo Drury, M.D., F.R.C.P.I. National Maternity Hospital, Dublin; Coombe Lying-In Hospital, Dublin; Mater Misericordiae Hospital, Dublin

Diabetes Mellitus Complicating Pregnancy

With respect to the opinions entertained concerning the nature of this disease, I beg leave to refer you to Dr. Copland’s Dictionary; for my own part I can form no idea of it, except that it is a functional derangement of the secreting powers of the kidneys. R. J. Graves ou Diabetes Mellitus, Clinical Lecture, 1835, London Med. J., vii, 644.

Diabetes Mellitus, the exact nature of which still eludes us, was one of the first clinical conditions to be described. The Ebers Papyrus, found at Luxor in Egypt in 1872 and believed to date from 1500 B.C., contains a prescription for the treatment of polyuria. Aretaeus, writing in the second century, described it as ” a wonderful affection, not very frequent among men, being a melting down of the flesh and limbs into urine. The patients never stop making water, but the flow is incessant, as if the opening of aqueducts “. Galen described it as “diarrhoea of the urine”. In the third century, Chinese physicians observed that the urine was so sweet as to attract dogs. The most complete of the early accounts is that given in the Ayur-Vedat of Susruta, an Indian physician of the fifth century who wrote-“Madhumeha’ (honey urine) is a disease which the rich principally suffer from, and is brought on by their own over-indulgence in rice, flour and sugar. The patient feels weak, and emaciated and complains of frequent micturition, thirst and prostration. Ants flock around his urine. Carbuncles and phthisis are its frequent complications.”

Irish J Med Sci October 1961, Volume 36, Issue 10, pp 426–453

This being the first Graves Lecture in 1961.