Since Pitfield1 reported in 1923 that infants suffering from inanition gained in weight and in general health following the injection of insulin, this treatment of malnutrition in nondiabetic patients has been widely used. Allen and his co-workers,2 Blotner3 and Ellman4 observed the effect of insulin therapy in cases of pulmonary tuberculosis, generalized arthritis or unexplained malnutrition of adult patients. They reported improvement in appetite, in weight gained and in the general appearance of well being.
The mechanism by which insulin may bring about a better state of nutrition has not been generally understood. The theories which have been postulated include direct stimulation of the stomach or of the vagus nerves which produces hunger contractions, depression of the blood sugar level which results in increase in the hunger contractions, and improved absorption and utilization of food by increasing the amount of one or all of the digestive
MECHANISM OF THE INSULIN RESPONSE IN NONDIABETIC MALNOURISHED PATIENTS. JAMA. 1939;112(22):2290–2291. doi:10.1001/jama.1939.02800220056017
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