This is the first reference to diabetes in pregnancy. Although the patient was young the clearly described onset of her symptoms during the pregnancy would now classify this as gesta-tional diabetes. Is it possible that she only survived because she was a milder case who responded to diet, while all the more severe Type 1 diabetic patients died?
Henry Gottleib Bennewitz publicly defended his thesis for the degree of Doctor of Medicine at the University of Berlin on 24 June 1824 (Figure 1.1). It is a simple case report and review of the literature on the causes and treatments of diabetes known at that time. His Greek derivation of the word diabetes and his one-line definition of the symptoms are unchanged today:
Urine differing in quality and quantity from the normal ...
accompanied by unquenchable thirst and eventual wasting.
Before giving the case history, he summarized his belief that the diabetic condition was in some way a symptom of the pregnancy, or due to the pregnancy. He noted that:
Other disorders . began to break out as the pregnancy matured . the little fires which had hidden beneath the smouldering deceiving ashes broke forth and devoured again the woman's condition in the most wretched manner.
GRAVIDITATIS SYMPTOM ATE.
CRATIOS! MEDICOIUJM ORDINIS
CONSENSU AT QUE AUCTOniTATC I H
UK IVE1VS HATE UTTERARIA BEHOIJNENSI
IN MEDICINA ET CHtllURßlA HONORIBUS
ME XXIV. AL luinh A, MUCCCXXIV
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IlENJl GOTTL. BENNE JFl TZ
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DIABETES MELLITUS: A SYMPTOM OF PREGNANCY
An inaugural dissertation in medicine in which its author Heinrich Gottleib Bennewitz of Berlin will defend publicly with the consent and on the authority of the distinguished order of doctors in the University of Letters of Berlin to obtain in due order the highest honours in medicine and surgery, on the 24th day of the month of June in the year 1824.
The opponents being W. de Moeller, Doctor of Medicine and Surgery
A. Tietzel, Doctor of Mcdicine and Surgery O. Zimmermann, Doctor of Medicine and Surgery
Berlin, at the press of Johann Friedcrich Starck
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