Updated: Feb 23
Recently, I got admitted into the Stanford Pre-Collegiate Studies program. I would like to share my experience and help you sign up next time. I chose to partake in the topics in bioscience lecture, where they taught us about overall human bodily functions and how they work. Their approach to teaching was very interactive. We did a lot of hands-on experiments on each organ, and learnt about recent research and findings done in this field.
One section that particularly intrigued me was about how insulin and diabetes work. I’ll share what I learned about diabetics, it's causes. The presentation taught me about a variety of things that I didn’t know about before this lesson. This includes: where insulin is produced, what insulin is used for, the difference between type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes, what substance triggers the production of insulin, and lastly, what else the pancreas does.
The answer to these questions is mainly found in the pancreas and the bloodstream of the human body. Insulin is produced in the pancreas, located just behind the stomach. In addition to producing insulin, the pancreas also produces enzymes which assist in breaking down food. So far we’ve talked about where insulin is made, but what actually is it? It’s a hormone used to help glucose reach parts of the body for energy in the bloodstream.
When you eat, your digestive system converts the food you consume into energy, and this is put in the form of glucose. It is then released into the bloodstream to get delivered to different body parts by insulin. Diabetes is when insulin isn’t getting produced which can result in hunger, tiredness, numb hands or feet, thirst, or blurry vision. This happens because glucose isn’t getting delivered to all the body parts which can make you feel tired since they aren’t getting enough energy.
There are two types of this disease, type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. The difference between the two is that type 1 diabetes attacks cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. Type 2 diabetes occurs when your body becomes resistant to insulin. It is caused by genetics and lifestyle choices. The substance that triggers insulin production is glucose in the bloodstream after a meal. This rise in glucose sends a signal to the pancreas cells, which causes insulin to release.
Finally, some other pancreatic functions include creating glucagon and enzymes. These can break down sugars, fats, and starches in the stomach, and release the nutrients from food. In the program, we researched about this by watching videos and making presentations to show the knowledge that we had learned.
This course really went in-depth about information regarding the subject, and I learned a lot through participating in this.
<Images and experiment pictures coming soon!>