The Banting enigma

by William R. Callahan | Nonfiction | This book has not been rated.
ISBN: 1894463706 Global Overview for this book
Registered by varykino of Greenfield Park, Québec Canada on 1/13/2011
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Journal Entry 1 by varykino from Greenfield Park, Québec Canada on Thursday, January 13, 2011
Frederick Grant Banting was born on November 14, 1891, at Alliston, Ont., Canada. He was the youngest of five children of William Thompson Banting and Margaret Grant. Educated at the Public and High Schools at Alliston, he later went to the University of Toronto to study divinity, but soon transferred to the study of medicine. In 1916 he took his M.B. degree and at once joined the Canadian Army Medical Corps, and served, during the First World War, in France. In 1918 he was wounded at the battle of Cambrai and in 1919 he was awarded the Military Cross for heroism under fire.

When the war ended in 1919, Banting returned to Canada and was for a short time a medical practitioner at London, Ontario. He studied orthopaedic medicine and was, during the year 1919-1920, Resident Surgeon at the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto. From 1920 until 1921 he did part-time teaching in orthopaedics at the University of Western Ontario at London, Canada, besides his general practice, and from 1921 until 1922 he was Lecturer in Pharmacology at the University of Toronto. In 1922 he was awarded his M.D. degree, together with a gold medal.

Earlier, however, Banting had become deeply interested in diabetes. The work of Naunyn, Minkowski, Opie, Schafer, and others had indicated that diabetes was caused by lack of a protein hormone secreted by the islands of Langerhans in the pancreas. To this hormone Schafer had given the name insulin, and it was supposed that insulin controls the metabolism of sugar, so that lack of it results in the accumulation of sugar in the blood and the excretion of the excess of sugar in the urine. Attempts to supply the missing insulin by feeding patients with fresh pancreas, or extracts of it, had failed, presumably because the protein insulin in these had been destroyed by the proteolytic enzyme of the pancreas. The problem, therefore, was how to extract insulin from the pancreas before it had been thus destroyed.

While he was considering this problem, Banting read in a medical journal an article by Moses Baron, which pointed out that, when the pancreatic duct was experimentally closed by ligatures, the cells of the pancreas which secrete trypsin degenerate, but that the islands of Langerhans remain intact. This suggested to Banting the idea that ligation of the pancreatic duct would, by destroying the cells which secrete trypsin, avoid the destruction of the insulin, so that, after sufficient time had been allowed for the degeneration of the trypsin-secreting cells, insulin might be extracted from the intact islands of Langerhans.

Determined to investigate this possibility, Banting discussed it with various people, among whom was J.J.R. Macleod, Professor of Physiology at the University of Toronto, and Macleod gave him facilities for experimental work upon it. Dr. Charles Best, then a medical student, was appointed as Banting's assistant, and together, Banting and Best started the work which was to lead to the discovery of insulin.
In 1923, Banting and his research partner John Macleod were nominated for the Nobel Prize in Medicine and won. Banting became an overnight celebrity and was honored throughout Canada for his massive achievement. The Canadian government even promised him a lifetime grant to fund further medical research and he was knighted in 1924 by King George V.

Banting was convinced that germ warfare was inevitable, and his determination to see that Canada and Britain were equipped to fight fire with fire. Many people would say that this ran diametrically counter to his reputation as humanitarian and co discoverer of insulin, the life saving method to offset the effects of diabetes, one of the greatest scourges of mankind.
Nobel laureate, saver of hundreds of thousands of lives, Banting had written what turns out to be the blueprint for bacteriological warfare research for the next two decades. Even within four years, before the war was over, his ideas for infected bullets and shells, the rearing of disease-carrying insects and the aerial spraying of deadly bacteria became weapons of reality

William Roger Callahan, born in St. John’s November 7, 1931, is one of Newfoundland’s and Canada’s most senior journalists, having worked in print and broadcast media for nearly a half-century with a short time out for politics. He was natural resources minister in the final years of the last Smallwood administration of the Newfoundland government.

As editor of all three daily newspapers published in Newfoundland in the twentieth century—The Telegram, The Western Star, and the now defunct Daily News, Callahan set a record that will likely never be equalled. During those years he published literally thousands of commentaries on politics and public affairs.

Callahan lives in St. John's with his wife Daphne Marie Ryan.

Journal Entry 2 by varykino at Royal Victoria Hospital in Montréal, Québec Canada on Thursday, June 06, 2013

Released 6 yrs ago (6/7/2013 UTC) at Royal Victoria Hospital in Montréal, Québec Canada


The statue of Queen Victoria at the Royal Victoria Hospital. The five-tonne statue has stood in the hospital’s halls since the 1890s and will be moved to the MUHC construction site in July.

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