HeathcareTreatment of diabetes: 100 years ago the first injection...

Treatment of diabetes: 100 years ago the first injection of insulin


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It was only a century ago. Urgently admitted to a general hospital in Toronto, Canada, young Leonard Thompson suffers from type 1 diabetes, which leaves him in a coma. If the disease had been known since time immemorial, its treatment was for a long time limited to bloodletting, hydrotherapy, even the use of opium, but above all draconian diets.

With a strict diet, young Leonard Thompson weighs 29 kg and his days are numbered when he enters the hospital. On January 11, 1922, with the consent of his father, he became the first human patient to receive a dose of insulin. The decoction is then extracted from the pancreas of the calf. A hundred years later, more than half a million patients are being treated in France with this hormone, which is naturally produced by the human body and has become indispensable in the treatment of disease.

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Even in antiquity, it was noticed that the urine of the sick, because of the sugar content in it, attracts ants. But we need to wait until the early 20th century to better understand diabetes and find a suitable solution. At that time, the life expectancy of patients was reduced to three to four years after diagnosis. It was Frederick Grant Banting, a medical researcher at the University of Toronto and a future Nobel laureate in medicine, who understood the role of insulin.

First synthetic human insulin

With the help of a professor of physiology, a biochemist and a medical student, he succeeds in isolating a hormone secreted by specialized cells located in the islets of Langerhans (pancreas): insulin. After the final tests on dogs, the team quickly decided to take the process to humans, and in January 1922 an opportunity arose on a young Leonard Thompson.

Very quickly, the production of insulin became industrial. Since then, she has continued to improve. First marketed from hormones extracted from the pancreas of beef and pork, it has been genetically engineered since the 1980s. Various formulas of this first synthetic human insulin will be developed to produce either immediate or diffuse products. In the 2000s, another method of administration also appeared – inhalation in the form of a powder.

Source: Le Parisien

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I am a highly experienced and well-connected journalist, with a focus on healthcare news. I have worked for several major news outlets, and currently work as an author at 24 news recorder. My work has been featured in many prestigious publications, and I have a wide network of contacts in the healthcare industry. I am highly passionate about my work, and strive to provide accurate and timely information to my readers.


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