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      The Concept of ‘Glomerulonephritis’

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          Abstract

          Though the term ‘nephritis’ first appeared in the 19th century, this word did not bear the same meaning as it does today; indeed, for many years it was used to indicate ‘renal diseases’ (in the sense of Bright’s disease) in a larger sense. This review summarizes the long gestation of the concept of ‘glomerulonephritis’ from the prehistory of medicine up to the beginning of the second half of the 20th century with emphasis on Italy and, in particular, on Torino, which was the capital of the Kingdom of Italy from 1861 to 1865. To the best of our kowledge, this is the first study reporting an epidemiology survey of Bright’s disease in Italy from 1880 up to 1960. Towards the end of the 19th century, Bright’s disease accounted for 26 deaths/year/10<sup>5</sup> population (in comparison with more than 200 from tuberculosis) in Italy, roughly paralleling that reported in the USA. At the beginning of the 20th century, Bright’s disease was the seventh cause of death (almost 1% of total deaths) in Italy. Furthermore, in Italy, as elsewhere, autopsy studies showed a higher percentage of deaths attributed to Bright’s disease (5–7%) in comparison with those obtained from vital statistics. In 1960, just before the beginning of renal replacement therapy, Bright’s disease accounted for 15.7 deaths/year/10<sup>5</sup> population (= 1.46% of all deaths), roughly paralleling that reported in the United Kingdom (13.8/10<sup>5</sup> population = 1.25% of deaths). Probably, it was difficult to recognize the real incidence of chronic renal diseases leading to death in the 1960s, and vital statistics were able to furnish only approximate estimates. However, noteworthy is the fact that these values were very close to those estimated as being the annual need for renal replacement therapy (10–20 cases/year/10<sup>5</sup> population).

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          AJN
          Am J Nephrol
          10.1159/issn.0250-8095
          American Journal of Nephrology
          S. Karger AG
          0250-8095
          1421-9670
          1999
          February 1999
          22 March 1999
          : 19
          : 1
          : 83-91
          Affiliations
          aDepartments of Medical and Surgical Sciences, Section Nephrourology, and bUnit of Cancer Epidemiology Biomedical Science and Human Oncology, Section Pathology, University of Torino, Italy
          Article
          13431 Am J Nephrol 1999;19:83–91
          10.1159/000013431
          10085456
          © 1999 S. Karger AG, Basel

          Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug. Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.

          Page count
          Figures: 4, Tables: 2, References: 49, Pages: 9
          Product
          Self URI (application/pdf): https://www.karger.com/Article/Pdf/13431
          Categories
          History of Nephrology

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