Is it just coincidence that Thanksgiving – the holiday most infamous for excess and overindulgence – falls at the end of Diabetes Awareness Month? I would argue that most Americans know the history of the Pilgrims and the Mayflower – even the symbolism of the turkey – better than the history of diabetes or insulin. That needs to change. It is altogether fitting and proper that we pay homage to the swine on Thanksgiving, a creature that has contributed significantly to diabetes with very little acknowledgement.
Yes, without a doubt we are indebted to the dog and cow as well. I’m happy to say that researchers left the dog population alone early on. They asked themselves, Where can we get mountains of animal organs to make this crudely-purified, liquid hormone elixir? It was then they turned to livestock: pigs and cows already destined for human consumption. Eli Lilly, god bless him, actually had trainloads of organs, fresh from the slaughterhouses, delivered each day to the insulin factory. Just think, before this discovery, pancreases were just a byproduct to stuff into hotdogs! Behold, a perfect example of early repurposing.
To read the rest of my Thanksgiving post, follow this link to the Suite D blog: Suite D blog