Cantani describes the first case of a diabetic patient he had who he cured diabetes with an all meat diet for 8 days. The patient said originally he was on the correct diet but realized that he had not believed such a rigourous diet was required.
February 22, 1870
Diabetes Mellitus and its dietetic treatment
Clinical observations of fully cured cases of diabetes. SUMMARY. - A new theory from the author. - Cases of diabetes mellitus observed by me. Clinical observations of cured cases of diabetes (I to LXXIII). - Healings obtained by others and which have been communicated to me. Statistics of diabetes cures. GENTLEMEN, 7 To so many theories on the pathogenesis of diabetes, we are going to add one more, which is specific to us: it is based on our clinical observations, is based on the singular efficacy of the corresponding treatment, and is found demonstrated by the following proof: the sugar of diabetic blood is not glycose, but a new sugar, the discovery of which gives our theory the sanction of positive experience. But it takes first that I report to you the cases observed, so that you can see, like ourselves, the theory springing from clinical observations, with that spontaneity which imposes a scientific conviction. I have observed over 150 cases of diabetes in all. Several were studied with all the rigor possible in front of this clinic: others were treated by us in our private clientele, and these were observed as best we could. It seemed useful to me to divide all these cases into two large groups: in the first I put the diabetics completely cured, in the second diabetics who were not cured, whether or not their condition had been improved by treatment, whether with that spontaneity which imposes scientific conviction,
the treatment itself was or was not rigorously followed. Among the cases of recovery there are some which date from three or four years, and which have been perfectly maintained, for I have recent proofs that the urine of these former patients does not contain any trace of sugar, although they are returned for several years to mixed feeding, with the sole precaution of never again abusing flour, and especially sweets. I must warn that I also included among the cured cases, the patients who, after a complete recovery maintained for a year or two, returned to diabetes and returned to an exclusively starchy and sweet diet. In my opinion, these are not the cases of D. cidivitis: these are diabetes contracted again; because we cannot demand, to declare an effective treatment, ensures immunity with regard to diabetes, if the cured patient returns to the conditions in which he contracted his disease the first time.
Ferdinando Grosso, tailor of clothes, from Naples, 36 years old, entered the Clinic on February 22, 1870. This man hardly ever ate nothing but flour and fruit, eating only meat on rare occasions: before being ill, he experienced long and cruel sorrows. He had been diabetic for about two years, and already reduced to great weakness, considerable weight loss, with sexual impotence, and the inability to continue his work, extraordinary hunger and thirst, so profuse polyuria and urination so frequent that he could not sleep. When he entered the clinic, he assured us that he was already much better, because for a month he had followed the treatment with the exclusive meat diet and lactic acid, which had been advised to him by a distinguished young doctor, our pupil and your fellow student; however, the cure was not rigorous enough; there was less thirst and polyuria, and a little more strength. At the time of entry, it was emitting 2,700 cc of urine, specific gravity 1029; 168 gr. of sugar in the twenty-four it emitted 2,700 cc of urine, specific gravity 1029; hours.
After eight days of an exclusively meat diet, with a little lactic acid, only a few traces of sugar remained in the urine: by the tenth day, they had completely disappeared. After having experienced our cure in its absolute rigor, our patient admitted that he had not at first believed in such a rigorous diet, and that at home he had eaten, albeit in moderation, foods which were now forbidden to him. On the day of his entry, he weighed 58k11.5 after six weeks of rigorous diet, he weighed 59k1.3. Returning home, but continuing the treatment exactly, he weighed 60 kilograms on May 1.
In January 1871, he weighed 65kil, and although he had returned four months ago to the moderate use of flour, his urine was free of sugar; in fact, he no longer presented any symptoms of diabetes, but he was fat and robust, more so than before he was ill. I begged him to come today, in order to introduce him to you, he kindly answered my call, and you see him so fresh and so strong, that those of you who have seen him diabetic must have grown up 'hard to recognize it. Professor Primavera examined his urine today: no sugar, full recovery for two years. Each new year, this good man sends me a letter of good wishes in which he informs me of his state of health; I saw him again in June 1874, he is perfectly fine, although his resources do not always allow him to procure a dish of meat for his dinner.