Still waiting on a cure for diabetes

Excerpt from the October 17, 1964 issue of Science News Letters

Hope for diabetes cure — Hope for the prevention and eventual cure of diabetes was given at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md., where specialists met to discuss techniques that should be used in population studies of the disease. An estimated 26 million people throughout the world have diabetes…. Insulin, discovered more than 40 years ago, still remains the best treatment, Dr. Howard F. Root, president of the Diabetes Foundation, Boston, said in an interview. “No pills by mouth are as effective as insulin,” he added. — Science News LetterOctober 17, 1964


In 2012, 29.1 million people in the United States alone had diabetes, and the number of cases worldwide was 371 million. Insulin remains the standard of care for those with type 1 diabetes, but researchers are examining other possibilities, from reprogrammed stem cells to a bionic pancreas. For type 2 diabetes, along with diet and lifestyle changes, pills such as metformin have been the treatments of choice since the 1970s, when they replaced drugs with similar mechanisms. 

Bethany was previously the staff writer at Science News for Students. She has a Ph.D. in physiology and pharmacology from Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

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