On This Day
1923 – Insulin becomes generally available for use by people with diabetes.
Insulin (from Latin insula, island) is a peptide hormone produced by beta cells of the pancreatic islets, and it is considered to be the main anabolic hormone of the body. It regulates the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and protein by promoting the absorption of, especially, glucose from the blood into liver, fat and skeletal muscle cells. In these tissues the absorbed glucose is converted into either glycogen via glycogenesis or fats (triglycerides) via lipogenesis, or, in the case of the liver, into both. Glucose production and secretion by the liver is strongly inhibited by high concentrations of insulin in the blood. Circulating insulin also affects the synthesis of proteins in a wide variety of tissues. It is therefore an anabolic hormone, promoting the conversion of small molecules in the blood into large molecules inside the cells. Low insulin levels in the blood have the opposite effect by promoting widespread catabolism, especially of reserve body fat.
Beta cells are sensitive to glucose concentrations, also known as blood sugar levels. When the glucose level is high, the beta cells secrete insulin into the blood; when glucose levels are low, secretion of insulin is inhibited. Their neighboring alpha cells, by taking their cues from the beta cells, secrete glucagon into the blood in the opposite manner: increased secretion when blood glucose is low, and decreased secretion when glucose concentrations are high. Glucagon, through stimulating the liver to release glucose by glycogenolysis and gluconeogenesis, has the opposite effect of insulin. The secretion of insulin and glucagon into the blood in response to the blood glucose concentration is the primary mechanism of glucose homeostasis.
If beta cells are destroyed by an autoimmune reaction, insulin can no longer be synthesized or be secreted into the blood. This results in type 1 diabetes mellitus, which is characterized by abnormally high blood glucose concentrations, and generalized body wasting. In type 2 diabetes mellitus the destruction of beta cells is less pronounced than in type 1 diabetes, and is not due to an autoimmune process. Instead there is an accumulation of amyloid in the pancreatic islets, which likely disrupts their anatomy and physiology. The pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes is not well understood but patients exhibit a reduced population of islet beta-cells, reduced secretory function of islet beta-cells that survive and peripheral tissue insulin resistance. Type 2 diabetes is characterized by high rates of glucagon secretion into the blood which are unaffected by, and unresponsive to the concentration of glucose in the blood. Insulin is still secreted into the blood in response to the blood glucose. As a result, the insulin levels, even when the blood sugar level is normal, are much higher than they are in healthy persons. There are a variety of treatment regimens, none of which is entirely satisfactory. When the pancreas’s capacity to secrete insulin can no longer keep the blood sugar level within normal bounds, insulin injections are given.
The human insulin protein is composed of 51 amino acids, and has a molecular mass of 5808 Da. It is a dimer of an A-chain and a B-chain, which are linked together by disulfide bonds. Insulin’s structure varies slightly between species of animals. Insulin from animal sources differs somewhat in effectiveness (in carbohydrate metabolism effects) from human insulin because of these variations. Porcine insulin is especially close to the human version, and was widely used to treat type 1 diabetics before human insulin could be produced in large quantities by recombinant DNA technologies.
The crystal structure of insulin in the solid state was determined by Dorothy Hodgkin. It is on the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines, the most important medications needed in a basic health system.
Born On This Day
Cornelia Arnolda Johanna “Corrie” ten Boom (15 April 1892 – 15 April 1983) was a Dutch watchmaker and Christian who, along with her father and other family members, helped many Jews escape the Nazi Holocaust during World War II by hiding them in her closet. She was imprisoned for her actions. Her most famous book, The Hiding Place, is a biography that recounts the story of her family’s efforts.
Corrie ten Boom was born on April 15, 1892 to a working class family in Haarlem, Netherlands, near Amsterdam. Named after her mother but known as “Corrie” all her life, she was the youngest child, of Casper ten Boom, a jeweler and watchmaker. Her father was so fascinated by the craft of watchmaking that he often became so engrossed in his own work he would forget to charge customers for the services.
Corrie trained to be a watchmaker herself and in 1922 became the first woman licensed as a watchmaker in Holland. Over the next decade, in addition to working in her father’s shop, she established a youth club for teenage girls, which provided religious instruction as well as classes in the performing arts, sewing and handicrafts. She, along with her family, was a strict Calvinist in the Dutch Reformed Church. Faith inspired the family to serve society, offering shelter, food and money to those in need.
By William Hughes: R.I.P. Art Bell, king of late-night conspiracy radio
Art Bell has died. The legendary late-night radio host, who spent decades at the helm of his massively popular interview and call-in show, Coast To Coast AM, calmly listening and questioning as his guests and callers outlined every damn conspiracy theory, alien abduction idea, and off-the-wall opinion that happened to cross their minds, was 72.
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Arthur William Bell III (June 17, 1945 – April 13, 2018) was an American broadcaster and author. He was the founder and the original host of the paranormal-themed radio program Coast to Coast AM syndicated on hundreds of radio stations in the U.S. and Canada. He also created and hosted its companion show Dreamland.
Semi-retired from Coast to Coast AM since 2003, he hosted the show many weekends on Premiere Networks for the following four years. He announced his retirement from weekend hosting on July 1, 2007, but occasionally served as a guest host through 2010. He attributed the reason for his retirement to a desire to spend time with his new wife and their daughter, born May 30, 2007. He added that unlike his previous “retirements”, this one was permanent, while leaving open the option to return.
Classic Bell-hosted episodes of Coast to Coast AM can be heard in some radio markets on Saturday nights under the name Somewhere in Time. He started a new nightly show, Art Bell’s Dark Matter, on Sirius XM Radio, that began on September 16, 2013. It ended six weeks later, on November 4, 2013. Bell cited technological problems and a disagreement with Sirius XM over the show’s distribution, for his ending the program.
He returned to radio on July 20, 2015, with a new show, Midnight in the Desert, available online, via TuneIn, and on some terrestrial radio stations. He announced what would be his final retirement on December 11, 2015, citing security concerns at his home. He said he and his family were subject to repeated intrusions on his property in Pahrump, Nevada, including gun shots. In fear for his family’s safety, he opted to leave the air, and ostensibly, public life, as he believed the intruder or intruders wanted him off the air.
Bell founded and was the original owner of Pahrump-based radio station KNYE 95.1 FM. His broadcast studio and transmitter were located near his home in Pahrump where he also hosted Coast to Coast AM. However, from June to December 2006, he lived in the Philippines. He and his family returned to the Philippines in March 2009, after having significant difficulties obtaining a U.S. visa for his wife, Airyn.
Bell died at his Pahrump home on April 13, 2018.
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