Pub. Date:
Brill Academic Publishers, Inc.
Fatal Thirst: Diabetes in Britain until Insulin

Fatal Thirst: Diabetes in Britain until Insulin

by Elizabeth Lane Furdell


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Although ancient and medieval doctors knew of the disorder called diabetes, the disease they treated was rare and largely confined to young sufferers. By the late Renaissance, however, the increasing incidence of diabetes in older adults required a re-examination of what caused the malady and how to cure it. Led by English healers, such as controversial apothecary Nicholas Culpeper and elite physician Thomas Willis, the study of diabetes produced significant debate in print over the locus of the disease and remedies for its treatment. These debates paralleled the growing schism in English medical circles over contradictory iatric theories and professional jurisdiction. On the eve of insulin's discovery, diabetologists still quarrelled over what diets might alleviate its symptoms. Including perspectives from patients and drawing on myriad sources, this book examines changing approaches to diabetes and its victims within the context of medical and scientific progress.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9789004172500
Publisher: Brill Academic Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 12/10/2008
Series: History of Science and Medicine Library Series , #9
Pages: 196
Product dimensions: 6.50(w) x 9.60(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Elizabeth Lane Furdell, Ph.D. (1973) in History, Kent State University, is Professor of History at the University of North Florida. She has published extensively on early modern medicine including The Royal Doctors (Rochester, 2001) and Textual Healing (Brill, 2005).

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments

Introduction: The “Biography” of a Disease and Its Sufferers

1. The Early History of Diabetes from Classical Times to the Renaissance: Diagnoses and Descriptions
2. Renaissance Diabetics and Their Doctors: Changing Treatments for Revolutionary Times
3. Early Modern Medicine in Print and Diabetes: Published Advice and Imagery
4. Diabetes and Seventeenth-Century Medical Controversy
5. Reconstructing Diabetic Life in Early Modern England
6. Diabetic Specialists and Their Patients in the Long Nineteenth Century: Competition for a Cure
7. After Insulin: The Lingering Effects of an Incurable Disease



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