How Was Insulin Discovered?

If Otto Folin of Harvard had figured out his testing for blood glucose in 1908 rather than in 1913, the use of insulin could have been practiced years earlier.  Medical history, just like most historical data, has a lot of bitter ironies as well as happy accidents. Insulin, or something very much like it, was extracted from the pancreas by a German scientist, Georg Zuelzer  in 1908. This fluid was injected into several dogs and the unfortunate animals perished. Zuelzer, not able to know precisely why the dogs died, decided that the substance was very dangerous.

Further test would have indicated that the insulin extract had stimulated a rapid a drop in blood glucose level that the dogs suffered from extreme insulin shock. Even without the blood-sugar test, if Zuelzer injected it on diabetic instead of healthy dogs during the tests, his extract will have produced relief of symptoms rather than shock. And Zuelzer would now be among the medical heroes, not an obscure man of science whose name is nearly forgotten.

Still another tryst with immortality finished in a narrow escape when an  an insulin extract was developef by Israel S. Kleiner of New York and J. R. Murlin of Rochester, N. Y.  Similar with Zuelzer's experiment, the blood test that could have shown the importance of the work was not yet available.

Many researchers have helped in the advancement of medicine when Frederick G. Banting entered the scene.  In 1889 Minkowski and von Mering showed that the extraction of the pancreas brought on a diabetes-like disease in a dog. Opie of Johns Hopkins had described  in 1900 that in diabetics, there was retrogression in the islets of Langerhans, those deep small cells in the pancreas.

Learn more about the origins of insulin HERE

© 2012 Athena Goodlight

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Understanding the Conditions of Children With Diabetes

Juvenile diabetics generally have a difficult and complex dilemma. The younger the patient, the bigger and more exacting attention is required to control the disease.

Occurrences of ketosis and coma increase in frequency and become more erratic in children due to of their lower reserves of carbohydrates. And, because the relentless demands of growth, food reduction is not an acceptable treatment for children. Insulin becomes imperative.

Diabetic children sometimes show irregular subsiding of symptoms after the initial stages of therapy. This could last for several months. But the demand for insulin invariably returns and, with the uncommon exceptions where a shift to an oral medication is possible, remains permanent.

As the diabetic child grows and hits adolescence, emotional disturbances related to the disease are frequently expected to develop. Different matters are implied here—the tyranny of everyday insulin shots, the requirement to eat at rigid schedules, the restrictions against sweets and candies which their non-diabetic peers are free to enjoy, anxiety concerning too much physical activity (which may induce insulin shock) or too little (which could lead to diabetic coma).

These and other factors resulting from his "difference" from other youngsters—if they're accentuated—may contribute to the tensions and stress of the child who is diabetic. This, successively, may agitate the basic instability of the disease and add to its severity.

As treatment of the disease improves, and understanding grows, many juvenile diabetics carry on productive and active lives through adulthood, get married and raise families. Quantify this versus the days prior to insulin invention when the juvenile diabetic was bound to perish within two years after the attack of the disease.

© 2012 Athena Goodlight

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Common Symptoms of Juvenile Diabetes

Juvenile diabetes, when it develops during childhood, can be easily recognizable. Often it begins showing the standard symptoms.  In cases where it has not been promptly recognized, the fault typically lies with the parents who are either unaware of medical progresses or who are unable to emotionally accept their child's condition.

Bed-wetting is commonly the initial symptom to diabetes in a child. Unfortunately, a lot of parents only consider this as a behavioral disorder which is often punished either physically or verbally. The other symptom is an insatiable thirst which could not be satisfied even with large amounts of water, juice, soda, or other fluids.  Next comes extreme hunger and loss of weight. Growing children are normally hungry many times in a day. But if their normal hunger is intensified, and they are losing instead of gaining weight, the craving may be caused by diabetes rather than the normal growth demands.

At this point, with these symptoms such as bed-wetting, thirst, hunger, and weight loss, the parents should surely be aware that something is wrong with the child and that an immediate consultation with the doctor is necessary. All in all, too many children are not perceived as diabetic until the disease becomes so severe that the young victim go into diabetic coma and need to be hospitalized.

© 2012 Athena Goodlight

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