Frances Ashcroft is Royal Society Research Professor at the University of Oxford, and has devoted her career as a geneticist and physiologist to studying the link between blood sugar and insulin. In 1984, she discovered the missing link connecting an increase in the blood sugar level, as happens after you eat a chocolate bar, to secretion of the hormone insulin. If this process fails, it leads to diabetes. In later studies, she unravelled how genetic mutations in this protein cause a rare inherited condition, known as neonatal diabetes, in which children develop diabetes soon after birth. This has helped transform the lives of hundreds of children, enabling them to come off insulin injections and instead take a daily pill. And yet, 30 years on, it's still not clear precisely what goes wrong with the mechanism in the much more common type 2 diabetes, now affecting hundreds of millions. Type 2 diabetes is linked to obesity, and now it seems that the growing obesity crisis in high-income countries, caused by poor diet and lack of psychical exercise, may be reversing the advances of medical science.
Venue Details & Map
183-193 Euston RoadCamdenLondonNW1 2BE
- +44 (0)20 7611 2222
- Public transport:
- Euston and Kings Cross mainline stations, Warren Street and Euston Square underground stations, International St Pancras.
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