About 9% of Americans have diabetes, yet the tales behind research in endocrinology (the study of hormones) are largely undiscussed. Diseases are rooted in a sort of temporal interest – little attention is paid to the illness until it affects us or a loved one. Many of the great advancements in diabetes research stem from a greater understanding of insulin, a small hormone produced in the pancreas that tells cells to take in sugar from the bloodstream, particularly after a starch-filled meal. Diabetic patients either do not produce enough insulin or their cells cannot respond appropriately to insulin. Research in the field of insulin signaling has, for the last two-hundred years, encapsulated laboratory bench work, epidemiological studies, and clinical trials. Rapid advancements in cellular assays throughout the 19th and 20th centuries transformed a crude description of diabetes, first recorded four-thousand years ago in ancient Egypt, into one of molecular understandings and targeted therapies. Laboratories today continue to investigate diabetes and the cellular signals which underlie its symptoms in an effort to reduce its prevalence and improve the longevity of patients.
Copyright © 2017 Nicholas McCarty
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"Diabetes: A History,"
Synthesis: A Digital Journal of Student Science Communication: Vol. 1
, Article 4.
Available at: https://ir.uiowa.edu/synthesis/vol1/iss1/4