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Swede solves 100-year-old pee disease mystery

The Local · 9 May 2012, 10:14

Published: 09 May 2012 10:14 GMT+02:00

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A group of people in Värmland, western Sweden, had long been plagued by an illness that was baffling doctors.

In a local family, half of the family members needed to urinate so much and so often that they had been forced to adapt their lifestyle to combat the problem.

But a Swedish doctor, Johan Jendle, discovered the cure and solved the mystery.

“Normally, a person urinates 1.5 litres a day,” Jendle told The Local.

“But sufferers of 'diabetes insipidus' can pass up 15 litres a day, which means they need to rehydrate just as often. They are constantly drinking and urinating, even during the night.”

The illness had baffled experts for over a century until Jendle and his team from the Central Hospital in Karlstad, took on the case.

“I noticed that the patients were related with one another. I investigated them first with the usual thirst sample tests, and then with genetic tests and found that it was about an as yet unknown hereditary variation of diabetes insipidus which spreads through mutation,” he said.

The disease can be extremely serious for those that have it, and could even be lethal, according to the doctor.

“Sufferers often find that they have to be within sight of a toilet, and need easy access to water constantly,” he said.

Previously known variants of this disease have been caused by damage to the pituitary gland, which is responsible for the urinary hormone.

However, this variant, which Jendle confirms was found within at least half of the children in this particular family “back into the 1800’s”, was unusual as no symptoms are present until sufferers become teenagers.

“The slow onset of symptoms is the tricky part. Many people adapt to the way of life without realizing it. The hormone fine tunes your urinary output, and people don’t realize it’s been happening, even though the consequences can become dire.”

But Jendle remains humble in his success.

“I’m not happy that I’ve solved the mystery, I’m happy that I’m able to help the sufferers. With this knowledge, we now know exactly what to look for and how to subsequently cure it,” he told The Local

Story continues below…

Jendle’s studies have since been published in the US Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Oliver Gee

Follow Oliver on Twitter here

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

10:43 May 9, 2012 by jack sprat
Jeez, I worked that out years ago.

Drink less Beer !
11:15 May 9, 2012 by Borilla
Does this explain the Swedish proclivity (both male and female) for urinating in public - in lifts, in doorways, in the middle of parking lots?
12:59 May 9, 2012 by delfinita
This illness has been known, treated and handled for YEARS in other countries. Holy cråp
17:33 May 9, 2012 by Frobobbles
So they were inbred. What a surprise!
21:04 May 9, 2012 by scubadoc
well known disease; except to journalist
07:30 May 10, 2012 by kzjh72

Ihe urinating all over the place in Sweden's villages, towns and cities must be because of the lack of public toilets. The differences between Sydney and Stockholm is astonishing in that regard.
11:30 May 11, 2012 by Birger Johansson
Non-lethal weapon idea: Create a virus that mimics the effects of the mutated gene once it is integrated in the genome... The soldiers will not have time to do any ethnic cleansing or looting once infected.

BTW tracking mutaed genes that cause disease is easy in Sweden since the churches have detailed records for every parish going back to the reformation.

kzjh72 ,

Yes this is sadly not a priority for town councils .
14:40 May 12, 2012 by skylarkpilot
The amount of spittle emitted by the average Swedish youth, I'm amazed they have any bodily fluids left to urinate !
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