Over two hundred years ago Conrad Brunner1 showed by experiments on dogs that a large portion of the pancreas could be removed without affecting the health of the animals. Progress in the physiology of the pancreas was slow and as late as 1888 the conclusions reached by Martinotti2 in his experimental studies published that year were those generally accepted. Martinotti asserted that after the complete extirpation of the pancreas no disturbance resulted either in the general condition or in the digestive functions. The dogs in fact gained in weight. Claude Bernard3 had asserted that shutting off the pancreatic juice by injecting oil into the ducts under considerable pressure, caused a serious disturbance in the absorption of fat, but subsequent investigators were unable to confirm his observations.
The idea that there was some relation between diabetes and disease of the pancreas was entertained by a number of clinicians,