MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Prof. Dr. Mirjam Christ-Crain
Professor of endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism
Heads the Department of Clinical Research
University and University Hospital of Basel
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you briefly explain what is meant by Diabetes Insipidus?
Response: Drinking more than three litres per day with the equivalent increase in urination is regarded as too much. This drinking by the liter – known as “polyuria polydipsia syndrome” – usually develops over time through habit, or can be a side effect of a mental illness.
In rare cases, however, it may be caused by diabetes insipidus. This is when the pituitary gland lacks the hormone vasopressin, which regulates the water and salt content in our body. Patients have a decreased ability to concentrate the urine, therefore lose a lot of fluid and have to increase their fluid intake accordingly to prevent dehydration (= Diabetes insipidus).
The distinction between what is considered a “harmless” primary polydipsia and a diabetes insipidus is crucial, as their therapy is fundamentally different. Diabetes insipidus must be treated with the hormone vasopressin, while patients with primary polydipsia require behavioural therapy to reduce their habitual drinking. A wrong therapy can have life-threatening consequences as treatment with vasopressin without indication can lead to water intoxication.