Why The Discovery Of Insulin Is A Defining Moment In Canadian History

2383 words - 10 pages

During the year 1889, two researchers, Joseph Von Mering and Oskar Minkowski, had discovered the disease that is known today as diabetes. Diabetes is a disease in which the insulin levels (a hormone produced in unique cells called the islets of Langerhans found in the pancreas) in the bloodstream are irregular and therefore affect the way the body uses sugars, as well as other nutrients. Up until the 1920’s, it was known that being diagnosed with diabetes was a death sentence which usually affected “children and adults under 30.” Those who were diagnosed were usually very hungry and thirsty, which are two of the symptoms associated with diabetes. However, no matter how much they ate, their bodies wouldn’t be able to use the nutrients due to the lack of insulin. This would lead to a very slow and painful death. In 1922, four Canadian researchers by the names of Frederick G. Banting, Charles H. Best, John J.R. MacLeod, and James B. Collip had discovered a way to separate insulin in the pancreas of dogs and prepare it in such a way so that it can be used to treat diabetic patients. In the year 2008, there were 1,656,470 people who suffered from diabetes in Canada, and by 2010, it is predicted that this disease will take over the lives of 285 million people . Although there is no cure for diabetes, the treatment of prepared insulin is prolonging the lives of diabetics and allowing them to live freely. The discovery of insulin was important and significant in Canada’s history because Banting was a Canadian medical scientist who had a purpose in finding a treatment for diabetes, its discovery has saved lives and improved the quality of life of those suffering from this disease, and it showed the world Canada’s medical technology was extremely advanced.
Frederick Banting was a very dedicated and devoted Canadian teacher and medical scientist who spent a great deal of time educating and helping others. While doing so, he used his interest and knowledge form previous work he had completed on the pancreas and diabetes to help those suffering from diabetes. While serving as a lieutenant in the Canadian Medical Corps in World War One, Banting was exposed to death and suffering every day and was even wounded during one of the battles. This encouraged and motivated Banting to use his interest and understanding in the pancreas to help those who suffered from diabetes. His ultimate goal was to find a way to treat diabetes and he was very determined to aid those suffering from this disease. He also worked at the University of Western Ontario, the Hospital for Sick Children, and in his privately owned surgical practice which showed his commitment to assisting and caring for those in need. He had quit his job so that he could research and experiment with various ways of isolating insulin in dogs. When he finally isolated the hormone, he did not test it on a diabetic patient. Instead, Banting had first tested it on himself in order to make sure that the...

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