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Diabetes: Past, Present, Future

July 27th, 2009

Diabetes is one of man’s oldest known diseases, having been first described in Ancient Egypt in the Ebers papyrus. However treatment of diabetes only changed in the 20th century. Prior to 1922, the best treatment for Type 1 diabetes was the Allen diet. – an extremely low-carbohydrate and low-calorie diet. The quality of life associated with this unsustainable therapy was poor and adherence only prolonged life for weeks in most cases. Dr. Allen commented that patients were rarely compliant with this diet, often smuggling in a piece of bread. Pictures of the patients from this time reveal severe wasting, only now seen in concentration camp victims and during severe famines.

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