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JAMA 100 Years Ago
July 25, 2001


Author Affiliations

JenniferReiling, Assistant Editor

JAMA. 2001;286(4):392. doi:10.1001/jama.286.4.392-JJY10023-2-1

The urine may undergo various changes in color from concentration as in the presence of fever ; from the ingestion of certain articles, as rhubarb, senna, santonin, carbolic acid, methylene-blue ; from the existence of certain morbid processes, as jaundice, cholera, typhus fever, pernicious anemia, melanotic sarcoma ; from the presence of blood, pus, etc. The urine has been observed to be blue in those taking methylene-blue, which has been employed in the treatment of malarial fever, gonorrhea, diabetes and other affections, and also from the formation of indigo in those in whom indican is present as a result of putrefactive processes taking place in the intestines. A unique instance of the latter variety is recorded by Mr. John Good,1 occurring in an unmarried man, 43 years old, who had been drinking excessively, had vomited and complained of feeling sickly, with loss of appetite, pain in the loins over the kidneys and discolored urine. The conjunctivæ were yellowish and the bowels were "out of order." The urine on examination was found to be of a peacock-blue color and clear, with a specific gravity of 1010, and an acid reaction. It was free from albumin and sugar, but acquired a rose tint when boiled with dilute hydrochloric acid. On one occasion the urine passed had a sage-green color. Under treatment with calomel, salines and salicylates the peculiar hue of the urine disappeared. The patient was sure that he had taken nothing that could have brought about the strange condition of the urine, in explanation of which it is suggested that it was due to the formation of indigo through oxidation of the indican that results from the putrefactive activity of the bacillus coli upon the products of tryptic digestion.