Title of Oral/Poster Presentation

Dying for a Cure: The Social History of Insulin

Presenter Information

Hope Eggett, Utah State University

Class

Article

College

College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Department

History Department

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Abstract

Medical advances in the last century have been astounding in their efficacy across the board, but no disease has been more transformed by modern medical advances than Type I Diabetes. Diabetes is an ancient disease and its hallmark symptoms have been written about since 1600 BC in eastern thought, and to the time of Hippocrates in the west. From that time to 1921, no treatment prescribed for what doctors now diagnose as Type I Diabetes was effective in preventing an early, rapid, and excruciating death. In 1921, researchers isolated and reproduced insulin, which was used to treat diabetic patients successfully for the first time. Insulin was one of the most important medical discoveries in the twentieth century, most poignantly to diabetic patients and their families. Insulin improved the quality of life for Type I diabetic patients dramatically because it cut down on ineffective and distressing treatments including starvation diets. It also decreased the depression and difficulty of the illness by giving diabetics a much better prognosis and quality of life. Most importantly, insulin treated the disease and its symptoms and progression. Despite insulin's success, insulin led to a different set of issues such as accessibility and cost, the responsibility of self-medication and testing, and serious long-term effects and complications. These issues remain current despite the efforts of medical professionals.

Location

Room 101

Start Date

4-11-2019 1:30 PM

End Date

4-11-2019 2:45 PM

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Apr 11th, 1:30 PM Apr 11th, 2:45 PM

Dying for a Cure: The Social History of Insulin

Room 101

Medical advances in the last century have been astounding in their efficacy across the board, but no disease has been more transformed by modern medical advances than Type I Diabetes. Diabetes is an ancient disease and its hallmark symptoms have been written about since 1600 BC in eastern thought, and to the time of Hippocrates in the west. From that time to 1921, no treatment prescribed for what doctors now diagnose as Type I Diabetes was effective in preventing an early, rapid, and excruciating death. In 1921, researchers isolated and reproduced insulin, which was used to treat diabetic patients successfully for the first time. Insulin was one of the most important medical discoveries in the twentieth century, most poignantly to diabetic patients and their families. Insulin improved the quality of life for Type I diabetic patients dramatically because it cut down on ineffective and distressing treatments including starvation diets. It also decreased the depression and difficulty of the illness by giving diabetics a much better prognosis and quality of life. Most importantly, insulin treated the disease and its symptoms and progression. Despite insulin's success, insulin led to a different set of issues such as accessibility and cost, the responsibility of self-medication and testing, and serious long-term effects and complications. These issues remain current despite the efforts of medical professionals.