The riddle of Type 1 diabetes has been a bit of a lifelong obsession to me. Type 1 diabetes is brought on by an autoimmune attack. What that means is the body attacks the insulin and/or insulin-producing cells. So I’m confused as to why we “treat” the condition with the same thing that caused it. In theory – isn’t this just like treating peanut butter allergy with peanut butter? As research has shown, nowadays a breakthrough treatment of the tree nut allergy has ‘retrained’ the immune systems of people with severe tree nut allergies to become immune to the response resulting in the life-threatening condition of anaphylactic shock. Back in the 1970s, people with insulin-dependent diabetes had the choice of using porcine or bovine (pig or cow) insulin. In this era of time, the Joslin Medalists or people with T1D who lived 50-years, have very little to no diabetes complications. Since 1990, the only type of insulin available in the US has been the insulin analogue designed to be exactly like humulin insulin. These days, diabetes complications are far more common in Joslin Diabetes Medalists. That linked study doesn’t indicate the type of insulin the patient uses, does it? Hmm. Ask the right questions and you’ll find the right answers. Last thought: if the state of type one diabetes nowadays results in more complications, could we be doing something wrong? Why not gradually re-introduce human insulin to the body with a customized formula of animal/human insulin while we retrain the immune system to NOT attack it? Food for thought.
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