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Joseph von Mering

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Subject: Barbiturate, 1889 in science, 1902 in science, History of diabetes, Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg faculty
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Joseph von Mering

Josef von Mering

Josef, Baron von Mering (28 February 1849, in Cologne – 5 January 1908, at Halle an der Saale, Germany) was a German physician.

Working at the University of Strasbourg, Mering was the first person to discover (in conjunction with Oskar Minkowski) that one of the pancreatic functions is the production of insulin, a hormone which controls blood sugar levels.

Mering was curious about the diabetes and tested the urine, which was found to be high in sugar, confirming his suspicion.

Josef von Mering helped to discover barbiturates, a class of sedative drugs used for insomnia, epilepsy, anxiety, and anesthesia. In 1903, he published observations that barbital (then known as diethyl-barbituric acid) has sedative properties in humans. In 1904, he helped to launch barbital under the brand name Veronal. Veronal was the first commercially available barbiturate sedative in any country. Von Mering collaborated with the chemist Emil Fischer, who was also involved in the discovery of barbital.(2)


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