#onthisday in 1893. Eliott Joslin examines Mary Higgins
August 2, 2017
Joslin was the first doctor to keep a diabetes registry. This registry allowed him to effectively track and treat the disease.
Joslin was an advocate of patient education and strongly believed that training patients to monitor their diabetes would save lives. He wrote the first textbook about diabetes in 1916, and in it, he noted a 20 percent decrease in mortality when patients instituted a program of diet and exercise. The below chart shows a dramatic drop in diabetes deaths in Massachusetts from 1920 to 1925.
In 1929, Joslin’published the Diabetic Manual for the Mutual Use of Doctor and Patient. You can see the title page below.
Joslin dedicated the manual to “Those Individuals Who Have Conquered Diabetes by Living Longer With It Than They were Expected to Live Without It.“
Joslin’s Manual emphasized the ability of patients with diabetes to live full, normal lives. Below is a page from the manual that shows a girl doing a handstand after taking her insulin
Joslin's Manual was used widely throughout the United States. At the City Archives, we have a copy of the manual because teachers used it in classes at Dorchester High School. Joslin's legacy and work live on. In 1952, his private clinic formally became the Joslin Diabetes Center. It currently supports the world’s largest diabetes research team.