Diabetes With a Hammer
Hitting dogs with a hammer is never a nice thing to do.
But that’s exactly what “one of the greatest of all men of science” did a long time ago.
According to Claude Bernard (1813-1878) …
“The physiologist is no ordinary man. He is a learned man, a man possessed and absorbed by a scientific idea. He does not hear the animals’ cries of pain. He is blind to the blood that flows. He sees nothing but his idea, and organisms which conceal from him the secrets he is resolved to discover.”
Dr. Bernard went so far as to vivisect the family dog (to the dismay of his wife and daughters).
According to the Dublin Hospital Gazette (Jan. 15, 1858) …
“Mr. Erichsen stated recently to his class at University College Hospital that, a reading over some of the curious and startling experiments of M. Claude Bernard, where that distinguished physiologist was able to produce artificial diabetes in large dogs and other animals by imitating concussion of the brain, by striking the animals with a hammer! he was led to examine the urine of some of the patients brought to University College Hospital suffering under ‘concussion,’ and he was astonished to discover large quantities of sugar in the urine! Whether this arises from the delicate parts of the fourth ventricle giving way, and containing clots of blood, or general derangement or ‘contusion’ of the brain substance, Mr. Erichsen is not yet in a position to state. In one case of concussion recently under Mr. Erichsen’s care, a large quantity of cerebro-spinal fluid was observed trickling away, a very formidable symptom in general; yet the case did very well. In another case, a man fell a distance of fourteen feet, coming down on the back of his head; he was severely bruised, and was taken up stunned, suffering from concussion. When admitted to hospital, it was noted that the sensibility of his limbs was good, but all power of movement was abolished. His urine was examined about this time by Dr. Harley, and found to contain sugar in abundance, and this ingredient seemed to increase every day till indistinct signs of mobility returned to the limbs, when it began gradually to diminish, according as the paralysis of motion subsided.”
For more info, read my previous blog, “Sugar Diabetes Out of the Blue” (Feb. 27, 2017).