Diabetes through the ages

Published on April 30, 2023   37 min

A selection of talks on Metabolism & Nutrition

Please wait while the transcript is being prepared...
I'm going to be speaking to you about diabetes through the ages. My name is Michael Hall. For many years, I was involved with Diabetes UK and also with the International Diabetes Federation. Though my original background was general practice, my research interests were diabetes.
It's now just over 100 years since the discovery of insulin by the Toronto team, and it is appropriate to look forwards and consider whether we can at last perhaps see a cure for type 1 diabetes on the horizon. It has long been promised. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested in research, and now perhaps there's hope with the coming developments in immunotherapy, which may halt the immune system's attacks on the pancreas.
The first person to receive insulin was Leonard Thompson. He was admitted on the 2nd of December, 1921, under the care of Dr. Walter Campbell, who ran a diabetic clinic in Toronto under the supervision of Prof. Graham. Thompson had been on the Allen Starvation regime for over two years, and was now in the terminal phase. His father agreed to let the hospital try Banting and Best's new pancreatic extract for the first time.
Since then, amazing advances have led to many different devices which assist those with type 1 diabetes to receive their insulin in a safe and calibrated way via pumps, which at one extreme can be set to give an automatically calculated accurate dose. The basic insulin syringes have been improved, allowing accurate and virtually pain-free injections to be given. For those with type 2 diabetes, care systems have been developed and medication improved, enabling care quality to be enhanced. Our understanding of the importance of diet, calorie control, and weight reduction has also improved. For some with type 2 diabetes, education and lifestyle changes allow the condition to be controlled so that diabetes is reversed, effectively, cured.