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  #1  
Old 05-12-2005, 09:57 PM
WeRSauron WeRSauron is offline
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Injected insulin in non-diabetic: what happens?

If a person without any diabetes-related issues is injected with insulin, what occurs? Does his/her blood sugar level drop or does the body naturally compensate for the added insulin?

WRS
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  #2  
Old 05-12-2005, 09:59 PM
ultrafilter ultrafilter is offline
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Their blood sugar drops. It's one of the many drugs that bodybuilders use to get big.
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Old 05-12-2005, 10:01 PM
don't ask don't ask is offline
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Depends on the dose. Prior to electro-convulsive therapy for the mentally ill the approved method was insulin shock therapy were sufficient insulin was injected to create convulsions and insulin coma.
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Old 05-12-2005, 10:08 PM
Meeko Meeko is offline
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Well if they get 3 or 4 shots, they die. Not a good way to have a Final Exam.

((Bonus Point for the first person to get the reference.))
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  #5  
Old 05-12-2005, 11:13 PM
KarlGauss KarlGauss is offline
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Quote:
If a person without any diabetes-related issues is injected with insulin, what occurs? Does his/her blood sugar level drop or does the body naturally compensate for the added insulin?
The person will develop low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and then, over about a fifteen interval, will normalize his/her sugar level.

The mechanism for recovery from hypoglycemia is really just an exaggerated form of the body's normal response to periods of starvation. In other words, during starvation, or even during an overnight sleep (when no food is being ingested), there is a tendency for the blood sugar level to fall. Should it fall too much, there will be an inadequate amount of sugar to "fuel" the brain. Unchecked, that will be fatal.

To prevent the blood sugar level from falling significantly during starvation or other periods of minimal food intake, the body employs a number of overlapping, redundant, and synergistic responses. After all, periods of starvation were/are frequent and the potential consequences lethal. Hence the evolutionary need to defend against hypoglycemia.

As a person's blood sugar level drops, the main short term response involves the release of adrenalin (a.k.a. eipnephrine) from the adrenal glands, and the simultaneous release of glucagon from the pancreas. Both act to oppose the actions of insulin as well as to directly stimulate the liver to make sugar (from breaking down stored starch if available, or by converting other substances, such as amino acids, into glucose). Either one alone, adrenalin release or glucagon release, is usually sufficient to overcome hypoglycemia. Interestingly, adrenalin simultaneously causes a number of other effects that serve to notify a person that their sugar level has dropped to a dangerous level (e.g. tremor, sweating, palpitations).

Most people with diabetes lose their ability to release glucagon in response to hypoglycemia. This makes them entirely dependent on adrenalin secretion to reverse any hypoglycemia (and note that epidoses of hypoglycemia are inevitable in anyone using insulin). Alas, one of the complications of diabetes (autonomic neuropathy) is impaired adrenalin release. As you might expect, the consequence can be devastating.

Also interesting is the fact that people with diabetes who strive to keep their blood sugar levels "tightly" controlled (i.e. in the normal range), and who therefore have frequent episodes of hypoglycemia (since, by definition, they're trying to keep their sugar levels down), often lose their ability to release adrenalin in response to hypoglycemia. What has happened is that the frequent, antecedent episodes of hypoglycemia have caused their body to accept lowish sugars as normal. As a result, they no longer release adrenalin at the expected level. Only profoundly low sugar levels will elicit this response and, by then, it may be too late (note that this mechanism is entirely different from the autonomic neuropathy mentioned above).

Finally, a word about the effects of hypoglycemia. In the absence of sufficient sugar levels to fuel the brain, brain function is impaired. Symptoms such as confusion, convulsions, and even death will then occur.
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Old 05-12-2005, 11:17 PM
KarlGauss KarlGauss is offline
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That should read, "over about a fifteen minute interval".
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  #7  
Old 05-13-2005, 07:05 AM
Mk VII Mk VII is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by don't ask
Depends on the dose. Prior to electro-convulsive therapy for the mentally ill the approved method was insulin shock therapy were sufficient insulin was injected to create convulsions and insulin coma.
In 1927 Dr Manfred Sakel of Vienna observed that psycotic patients who happened to be diabetic sometimes improved on being given an overdose of insulin. The practice was extended to non-diabetics. The trick was to try to give them enough to produce a deep coma, then bring them back from the brink of death with a glucose line into stomach or vein. Epilectic fits were likely at this stage but the staff tried to avoid this. The treatment also made the patients photophobic so the staff had to work in darkness with head lights, mirrors etc. Deaths were frequent and most hospitals had abandoned this therapy by the 1950s
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Old 05-13-2005, 08:49 AM
awldune awldune is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by don't ask
Depends on the dose. Prior to electro-convulsive therapy for the mentally ill the approved method was insulin shock therapy were sufficient insulin was injected to create convulsions and insulin coma.
FYI, this is depicted in A Beautiful Mind.
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  #9  
Old 05-13-2005, 09:39 AM
cher3 cher3 is offline
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Wasn't it also claimed that this is what happened to Sunny von Bulow?
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  #10  
Old 05-13-2005, 10:03 AM
ZipperJJ ZipperJJ is offline
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On Law & Order, there was once a case that involved a group of middle-aged folks who started injecting their partners with insulin so the partner would fall into a coma and the injecter would get to have kinky necropheliac sex with them.

Don't try this at home - the reason it was a CASE was because a couple of the injectees DIED.

Rich people on TV do the strangest things...
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  #11  
Old 05-14-2005, 08:21 PM
WeRSauron WeRSauron is offline
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Thanks for your answers, y'all! I appreciate them. They certainly help me understand diabetes and insulin much better.

WRS
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