Tagged: Thea Cooper

Unusual Diabetes

Diabetes is a group of metabolic diseases in which a person has high blood sugar, either because the body does not produce enough insulin, or because cells do not respond to the insulin that is produced.

All forms of diabetes have been treatable since insulin became available in 1921, and the new book BREAKTHROUGH: Elizabeth Hughes, the Discovery of Insulin, and the Making of a Medical Miracle by Thea Cooper and Arthur Ainsberg outlines this amazing discovery.

Breakthrough is based on the stranger-than-fiction true story of politics and personalities, and the unusual stories about diabetes just don’t go away.

What would you think of a single malt whisky made from the urine of diabetics? Creator James Gilpin doesn’t sell the stuff, but rather gives away bottles as a public health statement.

From the product page:

Sugar heavy urine excreted by diabetic patients is now being utilized for the fermentation of high-end single malt whisky for export. The Whisky market is growing faster then any other alcoholic beverage worldwide. With a prevalent genetic weakness being exposed in the northern hemisphere leading to a sharp rise in type two diabetes, economists have found a new exportable commodity to exploit and are keen to capitalize on this resource quickly.

Large amounts of sugar are excreted on a daily basis by type-two diabetic patients especially amongst the upper end of our aging population. As a result of this diabetic patients toilets often have unusual scale build up in the basin due and rapid mould growths as the sugar put into the system acts as nutrients for mould and bacteria growth. Is it plausible to suggest that we start utilizing our water purification systems in order to harvest the biological resources that our elderly already process in abundance?

And there are more unusual stories too.

The Gila monster would seem an unlikely source for a diabetes drug. But Dr. John Eng, MD, of the Bronx VA Medical Center in New York, thought otherwise. He had studied with a Nobel Prize winning mentor, Rosalyn Yalow, who had developed a technique for isolating unique animal hormones.

Expanding on her work, Eng studied guinea pigs and chinchillas. Then in the late 1980’s, he read research that found that reptile venom affected the pancreas.

Gila monster venom—found in its saliva—seemed especially potent, so he ordered some from the catalog of a Utah sepentarium. Using his new technique, he isolated a substance that stimulated the pancreas to produce insulin, the hormone that is reduced in diabetes. Eventually, he patented a synthetic version of the Gila monster compound, now known as Byetta.



Interested in the origins of synthetic insulin and want to know more of this history
? Then you’ll want to get the new book BREAKTHROUGH: Elizabeth Hughes, the Discovery of Insulin, and the Making of a Medical Miracle by Thea Cooper and Arthur Ainsberg published by St. Martin’s Press.

Elizabeth Hughes was the fourteen-year-old diabetic daughter of the U.S. Secretary of State when she became one of the first recipients of an experimental drug. Weighing a mere forty-five pounds, she was barely a staring skeleton when she was taken to Toronto in 1922 to meet Frederick Banting, the extremely unlikely discoverer of insulin. Three months later she left Toronto to begin a new life, a life in which her diabetic condition remained a closely held secret for nearly sixty years.

You can meet the author of BREAKTHROUGH, Thea Cooper, Tuesday, November 16 at 7pm at Third Place Books at 17171 Bothell Way NE in Lake Forest Park and learn more about this unusual tale.