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A Brief History of Insulin. Part 1

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Mankind has known about diabetes mellitus for 3.5 thousand years (as we know, the first treatise describing the disease, the Egyptian "Papyrus Erbes", dates back to 1500 BC), however, a breakthrough in the treatment of this serious disease occurred only about 100 years ago, when diabetes ceased to be a death sentence.

In the 19th century, during autopsies of patients who died of diabetes, in all cases, the pancreas was noticed to be severely damaged. In Germany, in 1869, Paul Langerhans discovered that in the tissues of the pancreas, certain groups of cells are not involved in the production of digestive enzymes.

In 1889 in Germany, physiologist Oskar Minkowski and physician Joseph von Mering, experimentally proved that removal of the pancreas in dogs leads to the development of diabetes. This allowed them to assume that the pancreas secretes a certain substance that is responsible for metabolic control in the body

By the first decade of the 20th century, The hypothesis of Minkowski and Mehring proved that a certain substance secreted by the cells of the islets of Langerhans plays a leading role in the regulation of carbohydrate metabolism.

In our next post we will tell you about Dr. Frederick Banting, a Canadian surgeon and Charles Best, a medical student, who successfully isolated the hormone insulin for the first time.