1990 年 38 巻 6 号 p. 1091-1095
The first person who appeared in history as a diabetic patient is Du Fu (712-770), China's greatest poet along with Li Po (701-762). Du led a life full of cares. In his late years, he suffered from diabetes and pulmonary tuberculosis, and died on board a ship on the Yangzi. He was 59 years old.
Everyone today knows the incidence of diabetes is basically linked to nutritional conditions. However, considering the food situation in both West and East historically, the odds were against humans having diabetes in all ages. Even today, the so-called “affluent diet” flourishes only industrially advanced nations, many poor countries still being in dire need of provisions.
In Japan, since the era of Emperor Tenmu (7th century), the people high and low alike have not been allowed to eat meat. Their diet has been based on rice, fish, miso soybean paste and soya sauce. This pattern fundamentally remained unchanged until after the termination of WorldWar II. It is an irony that the people living at the age of affluence now have come to regard some of the traditional food items as health foods.
In a previous report, I dwelled on the case of Emperor Meiji who had suffered from diabetes. Emperor Komei died while recovering from smallpox. Presumably, the cause of the death was keoacidosis that developed rapidly as a complication of diabetes mellitus. SaionjiKinmochi, an elder statesman in the days of the Meiji Restoration, often came down with diabetes. A physician in charge was Professor Katsunuma Kiyozo at the University of Nagoya, who later became the first president of the Japanese Society of Diabetic Medicine. Prof. Katasunuma is known as one of the three pioneers in diabetes research in this nation, the other two being Professors Sakaguchi Yasuzo and Taizo Kumagaya.
The discovery of insulin is among the most illustrious achievements in the 20th century medicine. It was Frederick Grant Banting, 29, and Charles Herbert Best, 22, who erected a monumental landmark with this accomplishment. They set to work on May 16, 1921, and succeeded in having a dog with diabetes survive for 70 days by administering Isletin, an extract of the pancreas. On January 11, 1922, Banting worked wonders by saving the life of a boy named Leonard Tompsonfrom the abyss of death. In a similar way, he saved the life of Dr. R. D. Lawrence, an otolaryngologist. With this feat, Dr. Banting was catapulted into fame. By autumn of that year, rumors had been circulating that he would win the Nobel Medicine Prize. On October 25, 1922, it was decided that the Nobel Prize in Medicine went to Drs. Banting and Macleod. At the news Banting got furious and said that the Nobel Prize should go to Best and him. He complained that Macleod had not played any part in discovering insulin. It is said that Banting had entertained animosity toward Macleod for liffe.