In spite of a great amount of research
work, the number of unsolved problems connected
with nephritis remains considerable, and the field
for further investigation remains so obviously wide
that the choice of this particular subject for a
research does not seem to require any special
justification. It was on the advice of, and with
the encouragement of, Professor Shennan that I
undertook this work.
A first impression was of the multiplicity
of the problems presented, and it soon became
evident that attention would have to be focussed . chiefly on one or two of these.
Of our outstanding difficulties in an
understanding of nephritis, two are perhaps of
more fundamental interest than any of the others.
In the first place, the actual cause or causes
have never been ascertained with certainty, and,
secondly, a clear idea of the process of
development of the disease is wanting.
To the first tof these problems, some
attention has been paid in this research, but in
great part efforts were directed towards an
understanding of the second point.
It was not possible, however, to
consider the process of development of nephritis
without a preliminary study of etiological
The thesis which follows will therefore
be divided into two main sections. In the first
section, statistical, clinical and post -mortem
evidence will be sought for, and conclusions will
mainly be related to etiology, whereas in the
second section experimental evidence, derived both
from the literature and from personal experiments,
will be examined to see what light may be thrown
on the etiology and course, and to determine to
what extent such experimental findings may be
applicable to the disease as it occurs in mar.
One important point must be made clear
at the outset, however. Where the contrary is not
specially indicated we mean by nephritis non - suppurative Bright's disease, and do not therefore
include all inflammations of the kidney. The use
of the unqualified term "nephritis" in this
restricted sense is a matter of very widespread
custom, but we mention the point particularly as we shall be frequently contrasting "nephritis" in
various ways with "suppurative nephritis."