Sunday, November 23, 2014

From Ant-Attracting Urine to Nude Photos

I will connect the two things in the subject line. Just bear with me.



Ancient Egypt was one of the first cultures to develop medicine in a sense that we would recognize today. Egyptian medicine even influenced many great Greek physicians, like the father of medicine, Hippocrates. In the Odyssey, Homer remarks that "In Egypt, the men are more skilled in medicine than any of human kind."



Despite their advanced medicine for the times, there was a disease for which no cure was known. Even the symptoms seemed baffling, but a diagnosis was a certain death sentence. The Egyptians called it a "too great emptying of the urine". Indian physicians referred to it as "honey urine", since the diagnosed's urine would attract ants. In the Middle Ages it would come to be known as "pissing evil". But it was the Greeks who coined the term that stuck: "diabetes" or "to pass through".



Unfortunately, none of these ancient civilizations came up with a method for managing the disease. In fact, we have to skip way ahead to 1921 before a breakthrough happens. Two Canadian researchers, Frederick Grant Banting and Charles Herbert Best, discover that by injecting insulin produced by the pancreases of healthy dogs into diabetic dogs, the diabetic dogs' conditions improved. They realized that without functioning insulin, the body's blood glucose levels would keep rising until they reached a fatal range. This huge step forward has allowed millions to manage the disease.



Type 1 diabetes is a specific form of the disease where the body's immune system attacks the pancreas, rendering it unable to supply the body with the insulin it needs. While type 2 diabetes (most often caused by obesity and lack of physical activity) can be treated with eating well, exercising, and maintaining a healthy weight, type 1 cannot. So type 1 diabetics must use insulin from another source. Originally this insulin came from animals, but synthetic insulin was developed in the early 1960s.



Since these breakthroughs, the methods for checking your blood glucose level and administering insulin has come a very long way. Continuous glucose monitors can be inserted under the skin and worn to collect a blood sugar reading every five minutes. Insulin pumps deliver insulin 24/7 to more closely mimic insulin administration of a working pancreas. However, the treatment of the disease is far from perfect. Due to miscalculations, a diabetic's blood sugar can easily reach less than ideal levels. Bodies develop bruises and knots from injections and pump sites. Fingers become calloused from years of blood glucose checking.



In order to raise money for type 1 diabetes research outreach, my amazing friends are embracing their bodies (pancreas included) for a 2015 calendar featuring tasteful nude photos of 13 vibrant models, all of whom have type one diabetes. Some have had it for the majority of their lives. All proceeds for this calendar are going to diabetes organizations. If you'd like to buy a calendar, or just find more info about the project, check out their website (but be warned, there are some racy photos on the site). Just google "T1D Exposed".



TL;DR Google "T1D Exposed" (slightly-NSFW).



"Be well, do good work, and keep in touch." - Garrison Keillor

Donovan
Pasadena, CA, USA
donovan.listserve[AT]gmail.com

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