i thought i'd write a bit about how research has helped me in honour of diabetes week. As most of my readers know i was diagnosed as a type 1 diabetic at the age of 2 in 1997. I was diagnosed before the basal insulins lantus (approved in 2000) and levemir (2004 from what i could find) had even been invented. I was on the free mixing regime with syringes but i was lucky to even have insulin thanks to the work and research of many many scientists who spent much of the late 19th and early 20th century studying diabetes mellitus. Paul Langerhans found the islets of langerhans in 1869 , the cells that produced insulin but it wasn't until in 1901 Eugene Lindsay Opie discovered a clear link between the pancreas and blood glucose regulation then 20 years after this Banting , inspired by the work of Opie amongst others, and Charles Best extracted and purified insulin as a medication. This was the fate of children diagnosed with diabetes before 1921...
At best a child would survive a year on the starvation diet. it was inevitable the child would die from it. There is a remarkable story of when insulin was first discovered children diagnosed with diabetes were kept on wards of up to 50 most of them comatose and families waiting for their child to die, when insulin was first purified and extracted Banting, Best and Collip went round injecting children with the insulin as they got to the last children the first were waking up from a coma. this was the same child in the previous picture after insulin treatment.
Thanks to researchers our means of testing bloodsugar has gone from testing sugar by boiling urine and adding a few chemical and measuring it against a colour chart, to urine strips to the 1990s when home bloodglucose meters became widespread that often took a minute or so to read which is the meters i started on , to the meters now that can work out your dose, remember carbs , insulin & bg and meters that bluetooth to pump or connect to smartphones.
our means of injecting insulin has gone from glass syringes where the needles had to be sharpened manually to disposable syringes to pens such as the novopen echo which remember doses.
even the method of insulin has changed from using animal extracts to using dna and bacteria which are able to be altered more to create the long acting or the rapid acting insulins.
pumps have gone from this in 1978-
to this in 2012... pumps which give minute doses of insulin mimicking the pancreas. pumps that bluetooth. pumps that have lists of carbs and you just click on the food you're having and it works out doses. pumps that are waterproof. pumps that change lives.
and this is what pumps will hopefully do in the future.... https://www.myglu.org/articles/day_1_bionic_pancreas_study
a bionic pancreas is my hope eventually. Even if it means being connected to multiple infusion sets the bionic pancreas which is already in human trials will take away all the worry that we currently experience. the freedom of not having to plan ahead, not having to worry about hypos or hypers and not experiencing the symptoms and long term complications of these is something i can only dream about at the present time.
i have been lucky enough to hear the Diabetes uk head of research talk twice now. they spend £6,000,000 annually on diabetes research pretty much half and half on type 1 and type 2 . They were heavily involved in the invention of insulin pens. So to them, to JDRF to every scientist and health professional who are or were involved in research from the bottom of my heart, thank you!
research gives me: