Tag Archives: non-fiction

Before Insulin, Elixirs Promised Over-the-Counter Diabetes Cure

Warner's Safe Diabetes Cure

As scientists in the early 1900s began to learn more about diabetes, their ability to diagnose the disease improved. But with more cases diagnosed, a real treatment remained elusive. Before the breakthrough discovery of insulin, many people, desperate to believe they could be cured, turned to elixirs to treat their diabetes.

Here’s an excerpt from BREAKTHROUGH: Elizabeth Hughes, the Discovery of Insulin and the Making of a Medical Miracle by Thea Cooper and Arthur Ainsberg:

By 1920, the death rate from diabetes would be double what it was twenty years before, and the number of diagnoses was rising. It appeared that medical research was losing ground.

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BREAKTHROUGH: The Miracle of Insulin

Thomas Sullivan, in Policy and Medicine, praises the groundbreaking collaboration between researchers, physicians, and industry that made the discovery of insulin possible and changed diabetes treatment in his article discussing BREAKTHROUGH, by Thea Cooper and Arthur Ainsberg.

“While significant breakthroughs in medicine and innovation in science occur each day, ‘only once or twice in a generation does a miracle drug’ come about that changes the way humans live and physicians practice medicine.”

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Insulin in its Infancy: Dogs and Diabetes

This Day In History: On August 31, 1921, in the early days of his research, one of Frederick Banting’s beloved test subjects died. Referred to in his notes as “Dog 92,” the collie provided Banting’s first real success during his research. The dog lived for twenty days without a pancreas, surviving with an extract Banti…ng and Best called “isletin.”
When Dog 92 died, Banting cried. He always loved and appreciated the sacrifice the dogs were making so that humans might live. “I shall never forget that dog as long as I shall live,” Banting wrote of Dog 92 in 1940, “…when that dog died I wanted to be alone for the tears would fall despite anything I could do.”

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Happy Birthday Elizabeth Hughes

Elizabeth Hughes, ca. 1923 courtesy of Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto

Happy Birthday to Elizabeth Hughes! Elizabeth was born on August 19, 1907. Just a few days shy of her 15th birthday, she became one of the first recipients of insulin. Her life was transformed.

Elizabeth arrived in Toronto from America a frail child, fighting to stay alive just one more day, armed with a hopeful spirit that refused to diminish despite her dire condition.

It was the discovery of insulin that allowed her to live a long life. She died in 1981 at the age of 73, having had children and grandchildren of her own. Over the course of 58 years, Elizabeth received some 42,000 insulin injections. Insulin made those 58 years possible.

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Arthur Ainsberg: Guest Blog on DiabetesMine.Com

 

     A guest blog, written by  Arthur Ainsberg, was posted yesterday on DiabetesMine.com. DiabetesMine was founded by Amy Tenderich, who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in May 2003. She writes of the site:  ”I started this blog to connect with others, to offset the feeling of isolation with diabetes, and to sort out and share some of what I was learning. It’s my “gold mine of informational nuggets,’ if you will…”

A full re-posting of Arthur’s guest post is below:

 

Breakthrough: The Discovery of Insulin and Other Medical Miracles

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Forbes.com: BREAKTHROUGH Creates “Vivid Images”

Physician and medical writer Peter Lipson gives praise to Breakthrough: Elizabeth Hughes, the Discovery of Insulin, and the Making of a Medical Miracle on Forbes.com: 

 “[Breakthrough] successfully weaves together the personal struggles of the patients, doctors and scientists living and dying on the edge of one of medicine’s greatest discoveries.” 

“Cooper and Ainsberg create vivid images…”  

“[Breakthrough] relies heavily on primary historical sources and documents.” 

A reposting of the full article is below… 

Book Review: Breakthrough  

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Publishers Weekly: BREAKTHROUGH Is a “Gripping Narrative”

We are thrilled to have received a fantastic review in Publishers Weekly!

Read the review below:

Breakthrough: Elizabeth Hughes, the Discovery of Insulin, and the Making of a Medical Miracle

Thea Cooper and Arthur Ainsberg, St. Martin’s, $24.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-312-64870-1

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James S. Hirsch On BREAKTHROUGH: Elizabeth Hughes, the Discovery of Insulin, and the Making of a Medical Miracle

Award-winning journalist and author James S. Hirsch, who also has Type 1 diabetes, wrote about Breakthrough in the June edition of DiaTribe, a subscription-based newsletter about diabetes. Here’s what he said:

“‘Breakthrough: Elizabeth Hughes, the Discovery of Insulin, and the Making of a Medical Miracle,’ by Thea Cooper and Arthur Ainsberg, captures the complex human drama of the teenage girl who was saved by insulin.”

“[Elizabeth's] story – a remarkable brew of courage, triumph, secrecy, and shame – resonates to this day, and new details of her life emerge in a book that will be published later this year.”

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Welcome! BREAKTHROUGH by Thea Cooper and Arthur Ainsberg Is On Its Way!

Welcome to the Breakthrough blog! This has been an incredible journey—seven years since a 2003 article in the New York Times first sparked a passionate determination to share this extraordinary story with the world. And now, after painstaking research—much of the process was like being inside a detective novel, searching for clues and chasing down leads—and carefully weaving this complex story into a thrilling read, the book is almost here!

Breakthrough: Elizabeth Hughes, the Discovery of Insulin, and the Making of a Medical Miracle will be published on September 14, but you can pre-order your copy online today at the Amazon or Barnes and Noble websites.

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