In 1886 Pierre Marie used the term "acromegaly" for the first time and gave a full description of the characteristic clinical picture. However several others had already given clear clinical descriptions before him and sometimes had given the disease other names. After 1886, it gradually became clear that pituitary enlargement (caused by a pituitary adenoma) was the cause and not the consequence of acromegaly, as initially thought. Pituitary adenomas could be found in the great majority of cases. It also became clear that acromegaly and gigantism were the same disease but occurring at different stages of life and not different diseases as initially thought. At the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century most information was derived from case descriptions and post-mortem examinations of patients with acromegaly or (famous) patients with gigantism. The stage was set for further research into the pathogenesis, diagnosis and therapy of acromegaly and gigantism.

Acromegaly, Gigantism, Growth hormone, History, Pituitary,
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

de Herder, W.W. (2009). Acromegaly and gigantism in the medical literature. Case descriptions in the era before and the early years after the initial publication of Pierre Marie (1886). Pituitary, 12(3), 236–244. doi:10.1007/s11102-008-0138-y