Re: Chimps and IntelligenceSep 20th, 2007
Let me tell you what happens to a diabetic who doesn't get insulin:
first they feel tired a lot, they tend to have a strange taste in their mouth and maybe their legs and arms get achey a lot. Their mouth gets really dry and gooey, then they start to lose weight. By this time they're peeing all the time and drinking tons to try and get rid of the horrible taste in their mouth. After a few months of this their eyes are starting to get damaged, little aneurysms busrting in their retinas. They can't tell yet but they're starting to go blind. At the same time their liver and kidneys are both being stretched to the limit, and there's a strange smell around them. They may be half their original weight now, and often feeling breathless or light-headed.
Around this time a parent usually realises something is wrong and takes their child to a doctor. This is when things get interesting:
Nowadays, a doctor does a simple test for glucose in the urine and/or blood, and when it comes back stupidly high the kid is immediately given insulin and will recover over the next few weeks and live a normal (but still difficult and short) life. Back as recently as the 60's, the doctor might well have said that it was diabetes but there wasn't anything they could do, and the parent would have had to watch the child slowly degenerate, slip in and out of a coma, going blind, their kidneys dying, their liver packing up and their breathing becoming more and more useless as their blood becomes too acidic to carry oxygen. Eventually, the child would have died.