Three men are commonly considered the outstanding pioneers in modern treatment of diabetes: Bouchardat (1806-1886) in France, Cantani (1837-1893) in Italy, and Naunyn (1839-1925) in Germany. Of the three, Cantani was foremost in his insistence that stopping glycosuria was the major method of controlling the disease.

All three men lived at a time when, after centuries of dense ignorance, there occurred an explosive outburst of scientific achievement and enthusiasm which is reminiscent of the similar excitement arising from the primitive beginnings of an atomic technology in our own time. As background for their researches in diabetes these three pioneers had Rollo's “animal food” empiricism; the physiological revelations of Claude Bernard; the discovery of enzymes and also of internal secretions; the foundation of physiological chemistry by Liebig; Pasteur's incredible bacteriology; the new microscopic anatomy opened up by the Schleiden- Schwann cell theory and followed by Virchow's cellular pathology; many metabolic studies capped by the investigation of respiratory metabolism by Pettenkofer and Voit; and—by no means unimportant in themselves— the developmentof methods of sugar analysis both by copper reduction and by polarimetry.

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