Google is honoring the scientist who discovered that insulin could treat diabetes with a commemorative Doodle on Nov. 14 – World Diabetes Day.
Google occasionally temporarily alters its logo – called a Google Doodle – to celebrate holidays, events, achievements and people. Today’s Google Doodle honors Sir Frederick Banting, a Canadian researcher who won the Nobel Prize for his discovery of insulin as a treatment for diabetes. Today would also have been Banting’s 125th birthday.
Banting only lived to be 49, but accomplished a lot in that time. He served in World War I, after which he became fascinated with diabetes and the pancreas, reading as much as he could on the subjects. He learned that other scientists had speculated that diabetes was caused by a lack of a protein hormone produced in the pancreas, which researcher Edward Schafer had named insulin. Other studies had shown that patients with diabetes had damaged pancreases.
As a researcher with the University of Toronto, Banting applied his research to dogs, removing the pancreas of one and noting that the dog developed diabetes. On another, he removed the pancreas but ground it up and created an injection. He found that giving the dogs without pancreases injections of the ground up pancreas kept them healthy.
In 1922, Banting applied his research on his first human subject, a 14-year-old boy named Leonard Thompson. The boy responded well to the insulin injections, paving the way for diabetic treatments through the next several decades, and improving and extending the lives of millions of people since then.
Diabetes continues to grow in epidemic proportions around the world, with 422 million people diagnosed in 2014, and millions more who have the disease but are currently undiagnosed. Pharmaceutical companies have been quick to respond with insulin treatments as well as medications designed to make the body more sensitive to insulin. These treatments are mostly designed for patients with type 2 diabetes, a condition most often related to obesity and sedentary lifestyle.
These medications can help patients control their blood sugar levels, but they often come at a price. Invokana is one of the newer and more popular diabetes treatments on the market today. Since it was approved in 2013, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has strengthened or added new warnings regarding increased risk for serious urinary tract infections, bone fractures, acute kidney injury and ketoacidosis, a condition in which too much acid builds up in the blood.
Source: Telegraph Reporters