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Who Was Sir Frederick Banting And How Did He Discover That Insulin Could Treat Diabetes?

Who was Sir Frederick Banting and how did he discover that insulin could treat diabetes?

Who was Sir Frederick Banting and how did he discover that insulin could treat diabetes?

Millions of people around the world suffer from diabetes, but until the 1920s there was no treatment for it.
Sir Frederick Banting was a Canadian scientist whose pioneering work using insulin to treat diabetes earned him the Nobel prize. He only lived to be 49 but on November 14 - what would have been his 125th birthday - Google has celebrated him with a commemorative Doodle.
November 14 is also World Diabetes Day.
How does insulin work?
For your body to use glucose, the fuel that comes from carbohydrates, it must be transferred from the blood to your body’s cells to be used up as energy.
The vital hormone that allows glucose to enter cells is called insulin and it is normally produced naturally in the pancreas. If this process doesn’t happen, the level of sugar in the blood becomes too high.
Being unable to naturally produce insulin is the disease known as diabetes. More than 4 million people in the UK are diagnosed with it, and it is a major cause of kidney failure, heart attacks and blindness.
Who was Sir Frederick Banting?
Frederick Banting was born on November 14 1891 in Alliston, a settlement in the Canadian province of Ontario. He served in the First World War despite initially being refused while in medical school for poor eyesight since the army wanted more doctors on the front line.
After the war, Sir Frederick had become deeply interested in diabetes and the pancreas, reading much of the work on the matter that had come before him.
Scientists including Edward Schafer had speculated that diabetes was caused by a lack of a protein hormone produced in the pancre Continue reading

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Can turmeric help manage diabetes? What the evidence says

Can turmeric help manage diabetes? What the evidence says

Turmeric has been used for centuries in both food and medicine. The spice is believed to have many potential benefits for the human body. But could turmeric be a new tool to help manage diabetes?
Turmeric is the common name for the root Curcuma longa. It is a bright yellow-orange spice that is a staple in traditional food dishes from many Asian countries.
In this article we explore the role of turmeric in alternative and Western medicine. We go on to analyze the potential benefits of the spice for diabetes management.
Turmeric and medicine
Turmeric plays an important role in medical practices, such as Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
Medical science is interested in the herb, as well, due to the high levels of friendly compounds it contains. Of particular interest is a class of compounds called curcuminoids.
One curcuminoid found in turmeric is curcumin. This name is sometimes loosely used to describe all of the curcuminoids in turmeric.
Turmeric and curcumin are being studied for a number of human conditions such as:
inflammatory bowel disease
h. pylori infections
Turmeric is also often added to the diet to help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress.
Can turmeric help people with diabetes?
Including turmeric in the diet seems to promote general wellbeing. There is also evidence that indicates turmeric may be especially beneficial for people with diabetes.
It is believed that curcumin is the source of many of the medical benefits of turmeric. The focus of most research has been on curcumin itself, rather than whole turmeric.
A review in the journal Eviden Continue reading

How can we prevent type 2 diabetes in children?

How can we prevent type 2 diabetes in children?

Type 2 diabetes used to be known as adult-onset diabetes because it tended to occur mainly in people over the age of 40. But as obesity levels around the world continue to soar, so has the number of young adults with the disease. The global prevalence of diabetes among teenagers and young adults (aged 10-24) has risen from an estimated 2.8% in 1990 to 3.2% in 2015.
This may not sound very much, but it is an increase of about 7m young people across the world. An important proportion of this relates to type 1 diabetes – but the increasing prevalence and impact of type 2 diabetes in this age group is a major threat to public health worldwide.
Having type 2 diabetes at a young age has major implications for a person’s future health. If not managed properly, it can lead to blindness, kidney failure or limb amputation, so preventing the disease before it takes hold is critical.
Researchers are scratching their heads trying to find solutions to this problem. While they agree that those at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes should be targeted in public health programmes, what those programmes should entail is not yet clear. Of course, diet and physical activity are important but, among children, research into what works is only just emerging.
Major research funders across the world are engaging with the issue. In the UK a recent overview of research commissioned by the National Institute for Health Research summarises where work is underway and where more needs to be done. In the US, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (part of the National Continue reading

Scientists believe they're close to a cure for Type 1 diabetes

Scientists believe they're close to a cure for Type 1 diabetes

Scientists believe they’re closing in on a cure for Type 1 diabetes, and perhaps making daily insulin shots a thing of the past for patients, according to studies published Monday.
Researchers from MIT, Harvard and Boston Children’s Hospital said they’re on the verge of developing replacements for pancreatic cells that are mysteriously destroyed by a patient’s own body — thus making it impossible to make insulin, which regulates blood sugar levels.
Scientists, writing in the journals Nature Medicine and Nature Biotechnology, said they’ve engineered material from brown algae that could work for up to six months at a time — in a huge relief from daily doses of insulin, whether by injection or insulin pump.
“We are excited by these results, and are working hard to advance this technology to the clinic,” said Daniel Anderson, an MIT chemical engineering professor.
Type 1 diabetes, previously known as juvenile diabetes, afflicts about 1.25 million Americans, and about 200,000 of them are under 20, according to a CDC report in 2014.
Type 1 diabetes is believed to have a genetic connection and is not related to weight or lifestyle, as is Type 2 diabetes.
“Encapsulation therapies have the potential to be groundbreaking for people with (Type 1 diabetes),” said Julia Greenstein, vice president of discovery research of the JDRF, formerly known as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. “These treatments aim to effectively establish long-term insulin independence and eliminate the daily burden of managing the disease for months, possibly years, at a time with Continue reading

Gene Therapy for Type 1 Diabetes: Preclinical Promise

Gene Therapy for Type 1 Diabetes: Preclinical Promise

Despite eclectic ways of delivering insulin to control blood glucose level in people with type 1 diabetes (T1D), no approach precisely replicates what happens in the body. Gene therapy may hold the answer.
T1D is usually autoimmune, with inherited risk factors such as certain HLA haplotypes contributing to, but not directly causing, the condition. A clever use of gene therapy is to commandeer liver cells to step in for the pancreatic beta cells that autoimmunity destroys.
MILESTONES IN HISTORY
One of the most classic stories of modern medicine concerns T1D: discovery of insulin at the University of Toronto in the early 1920s. Young surgeon Frederick Banting and medical student Charles Best were grudgingly given lab space and ten beagles to conduct their famous experiments that identified “isletin”.
In the summer of 1921, the hormone kept alive Marjorie, a dog whose pancreas had been removed, and in January 1922, it saved the first patient, 14-year-old Leonard Thompson.
Human insulin was the first drug produced using recombinant DNA technology. From shocking new biotechnology circa 1982, human insulin is today an item easily picked up at a drug store. But effectively using human insulin requires frequent monitoring and timing of injections, and even the most careful schedule sometimes can’t prevent long-term effects of uncontrolled blood glucose levels.
The prototype insulin pump dates to 1963; a wearable form came a decade later. Many people use pumps today to provide insulin in a manner more like a pancreas.
Thousands of islet transplants — the cell clusters that i Continue reading

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