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A Journal on Nephrology and Urology

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Minerva Urologica e Nefrologica 2001 March;53(1):45-55

language: Italian

“Bright’s disease” in Turin and in Italy from 1880 up to 1960

Stratta P., Bermond F., Canavese C., Colla L., Burdese M., Quaglia M., Besso L., Sandri L., Dogliani M. *

Università degli Studi - Torino Dipartimento di Medicina Interna Sezione di Nefrologia
*Ospedale di Ciriè - Torino Dipartimento di Nefrologia


For many years the term “nephritis” was used to indicate “renal diseases” (in the sense of Bright’s disease) in a larger sense. This review summarizes the history of the concept of “glolomerulonephritis” from Egyptian Medicine up to the Post-Biopsy Era, in particularly in Turin and in Italy. This study reports 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/105 population (in comparison with more than 200 from tubercolosis) in Italy. At the beginning of the 20th century, Bright’s disease was the seventh cause of death in Italy. Moreover, in Italy autopsy studies showed a higher percentage of deaths attributed to Bright’s disease (5-7%) in comparison with those obtained from vital studies. In 1960, just before the beginning of renal replacement therapy, Bright’s disease accounted for 15.7 deaths/year/105 population. Probably it was difficult to recognize in the real incidence of chronic renal diseases leading to death in the 1960s, and vital studies 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/year/105 population).

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