Friday, May 20, 2011 11:30
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1922After 3,000 years with no effective treatment, diabetes is no longer a quick death sentence. Canadian researchers extract insulin from a dog, inject it into a 14-year-old diabetic boy, and extend his life.
1935Researchers advance the theory that diabetes is not a single disease and divide it into two categories: insulin sensitive (what we call Type I) and insulin insensitive (Type II).
1956The first anti-diabetes pill, an “oral hypoglycemic agent” called Orinase, is introduced in the United States, making it possible for some diabetics to control their blood sugar without insulin injections.
1966The first successful pancreas transplant is performed by Dr. Richard Lillehei at the University of Minnesota. The body rejects the organ, but doctors have new hope—and much work still to do.
1970Dr. Paul Lacy of Washington University in St. Louis proves that transplanted insulin-producing cells can survive and control blood sugar in rats. Is this an alternative to pancreas transplants?
1975Dr. Gian F. Bottazzo, of Middlesex Hospital in London, develops the Islet Cell Antibody Test. This test determines the presence of antibodies in the blood that attack and destroy the insulin-producing cells in Type I diabetics several years before the onset of the disease. This indicates that diabetes may be caused by the body’s own immune system.
1977The Hemoglobin А! с Test, the “report card” of blood tests, gives diabetics a more complete picture of their condition by indicating blood sugar control over the previous 90 days.
1978Improvements in the form and features of the insulin pump make the use of these “mechanical syringes” more common and desirable. Today, about 8,000 diabetics nationwide wear pumps round-the-clock. . . . The first successful long-term pancreas transplant is performed by Dr. David Sutherland at the University of Minnesota.   The   woman   patient   seems healthy and free from diabetes.
1980Human insulin is produced in the lab through genetic engineering. For the first time, diabetics can be treated with insulin identical to that made in the body, instead of from cows and pigs.
1981Dr. David Jenkins and his colleagues at the University of Toronto discover that different forms of starches raise blood sugar at different rates. Time-honored diabetic diets must be reevaluated.
1984Dr. Daniel Mintz and colleagues at the University of Miami transplant islet cells into diabetic dogs and “cure” them. Hopes are rekindled that such transplants will soon be possible in humans. . . . Doctors at the University of Western Ontario “cure” newly diagnosed diabetics with cyclosporin. This advances the theory that diabetes may one day be wiped out by treating the patient’s immune system.
1991Results of a nationwide study reveal that diabetics who take tight control of their blood sugar levels suffer fewer complications of the disease, such as heart attacks, vision difficulties, and kidney problems.*2/266/5*

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