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It is bad enough to have a child or grandchild diagnosed at the present time. I agree with you, I don't know haow I would handled it in 1920, the year before insulin was discovered.

i know. can you imagine....? awful!

I think, too sometimes, this photo should be used when trying to explain, tell the story, the difference between an autoimmune type 1 diabetic and a type 2 diabetic...TYPE 1 has nothing to do with food, what we eat, DON'T eat...our bodies don't make insulin. we still would die if we basically starved ourselves (which most of us practically are when Dx with DKA)...and didn't have insulin. they're two different things, one a disease, one a syndrome (where food, diet, weight, exercise, genetics too) often play a huge role in treatment.

I think T1 has a lot to do w/ food. I feel it would be a better situation if doctors would recognize that "food" is "medicine" to people with diabetes, particularly those of us who are taking insulin?

well, not really...because my point was, it doesn't matter if we eat or don't eat ANYTHING, eat rocks or dirt..we're always going to need insulin with or without ANY food...unless and until there's a cure.

Truly an alarming picture Richard! I still remember how ghastly I felt when I was dx'ed.

I found the movie "The Story of Insulin" to be very interesting and engaging. Apparently part of the horror, particularly around the turn of the century, is that researchers had identified insulin as the key component much earlier, in the 1860s, but couldn't concoct a usable version but were working on it. So people did everything possible to stay alive hoping that the researchers would develop the "cure" they knew was on the horizon.

It was a long way (from Wikipedia):

  • 1869 Paul Langerhans discovered the islet cells in the pacreas.
  • 1889 Oskar Minkowski and Joseph von Mering removed the pancreas from dogs and caused diabetes mellitus. Around that time the first assumption that the islet cells are capable to produce hormones.
  • 1906 the German endologist Georg Ludwig Zuelzer extracted fluids form the pancreas of cows. The company Schering refined the process to the product Acomatol. Zuelzer tested Acomatol with humans - obviously not that successful.
  • 1909 the Belgian pathologist Jean de Meyer proposed to call the hormon „Insulin“ derived from the latin „insula“. For sure the English physiologist Edward Albert Sharpey-Schafer used the term „Insulin“ more publicly. Who was first is not clear.
  • 1916 the Romanian physiologist Nicolae Paulescu extracted Insulin for the first time from the pancreas.
  • 1921 the Canadians Frederick Grant Banting, Charles Best and J.J.R. Macleod extracted Insulin in a refined process that finally lead to the first purified insulin: Children dying from diabetic ketoacidosis were kept in large wards, often with 50 or more patients in a ward, mostly comatose. Grieving family members were often in attendance, awaiting the (until then, inevitable) death. In one of medicine's more dramatic moments, Banting, Best, and Collip went from bed to bed, injecting an entire ward with the new purified extract. Before they had reached the last dying child, the first few were awakening from their coma, to the joyous exclamations of their families.
  • 1923 the Canadians Frederick Banting and John James Richard Macleod get the Nobel Price for their discovery.
  • 1928 the Austrian-American Oskar Wintersteiner can show that Insulin is a protein.
  • 1958 the Nobel Price goes to the English Biochemist Frederick Sanger for his studies about the structure of protein - especially Insulin.
  • 1963 the German Professor Helmut Zahn and his team created artificial Insulin by chemical synthesis.
  • 1971 the English Biochemist Blundell and his team elucidated the three dimensional structure of Insulin.
  • 1982 first production of human insulin with genetically modified bacteria.
  • 1996 the first faster acting insulin analogon called Humalog is created. This insulin has a modified genetic sequence. Different forms of alterations of the sequence will follow and are leading to: NovoLog, Apidra and also Levemir.

Thanks, Holger. A good history lesson.

It is interesting to note that Georg Ludwig Zuelzer stopped the research on Acomatol because of the dramatic side effects. The Acomatol was so concentrated that is caused severe hypos in patients. At that time Zuelzer thought that his drug is too dangerous and harmful and stopped his studies. Little was known about the blood glucose chemistry at that time. 15 years had to pass before Banting was successful.

Just a small correction: Zuelzer experimented with animals not patients.

Yes, I found a Google site that told about a European who had extracted insulin from animals, but there was no follow up. This happened before Banting and Best entered the picture. I don't remember whether there was any experimenting with human subjects in Europe. Is it possible that Banting knew about this, and proceeded to complete the work started elsewhere? Banting was supported by the Lilly company who purified the insulin and made it safer for humans.

Thanks so much, Rock. I have seen older versions of this movie. Dlife keeps updating it, and the link I have no longer works.

Soo sad but true. I lost many a family member b/f the discovery of insulin just like this pic that was 1st took. I have many of pictures from member's of my family who were Type 1's long ago and always thank god that I wasn't one of them. Thanks Richard for the reminder. We owe our lives to ppl like Banning and those who partook in the initinal testing of Insulin

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