Diabetes–Before Insulin

“The Discovery of Insulin: A Medical Marvel for the Sugar Sickness” By Emily Duncan  ¹

“With no effective treatment aside from a semi-starvation diet, a diabetic’s outlook appeared grim. Before 1922, diabetic children rarely lived a year after diagnosis, five percent of adults died within two years, and less than 20 percent lived more than ten (Berger 57). Untreated diabetics faced blindness, loss of limbs, kidney failure, stroke, heart attack and death; (Yuwiler 12).” ¹  Thank God for Insulin!

An issue of ‘The Medical Times’ (published in 1922) included the following information:

“A Serum for Diabetes.”

“Experiments in the treatment of diabetes, hitherto regarded as practically incurable, have met with remarkable success, according to reports by officials of the Carnegie Corporation, which has made an appropriation for research work at the Potter Metabolic Laboratory and Clinic in California. The treatment that is being administered has given relief in practically all the cases under observation.

The ravages of the disease have been checked by application of a serum discovered by Canadian physicians working under Dr. J. J. R. Macleod ¹ of the University of Toronto. This serum has been used at the Potter laboratory. Thus far relief has been dependent upon constant application of the serum. It is too early, physicians say, to describe the treatment as a “sure cure” for diabetes, for the experiments at the Potter laboratory have been going on for only about eighteen months.

By the older dietary methods partial starvation would have been necessary even to prolong life, to say nothing of restoration to health. The results in the other cases have been equally astonishing. “The problem is of course still in its infancy. Insulin is prepared at present at very great expense. Cheaper methods of production must be devised. A study of the intricate chemistry of the product will undoubtedly add materially to our knowledge of the oxidative processes going on in the body about which practically nothing is known at present.

But the great gains seem to be that patients with the use of this new agent will not only be able to be sugar free, but will be able to have normal diets with the strength and health which can come alone from the use of such food.”—(New York Times.) Excerpts quoted from The Medical Times, Volume 50; November, 1922.

Visiting the Birthplace of Insulin.

“The History of Diabetes.”–By Melissa Sattley; Diabetes Health, Diabetes History, News; 1/1/2015.

  • *Dr. Frederick G. Banting; 1891-1941. (*Won the 1923 Nobel Prize in Medicine, with Dr. J. J. R. Macleod). More information re: Frederick Banting.
  • “In 1935 Roger Hinsworth discovered there were two types of diabetes: “insulin sensitive” (type I) and “insulin insensitive” (type II).” ¹
  • “Becton-Dickinson introduced the single use syringe in 1961.” ¹
  • “The first portable glucose meter was created in 1969 by Ames Diagnostics.” ¹
  • “The hemoglobin A1c test was devised in 1979 in order to create a more precise blood sugar measurement.” ¹
  • •A1C = an average of blood glucose levels over the past two to three months.
  • Hyperglycemia = high blood glucose.
  • Hypoglycemia = low blood glucose.• ¹

More Information: Diabetes; Mayo Clinic ◊ The American Diabetes Association (Prescription Assistance) ◊ Type 1 Diabetes ◊ Type 2 Diabetes.