The History of Homeostatic Systems
Category: Nature of Science
Resource Type: History of the Topic
A1. demonstrate scientific investigation skills (related to both inquiry and research) in the
four areas of skills (initiating and planning, performing and recording, analysing and
interpreting, and communicating);
A1.7 select, organize, and record relevant information on research topics from a
variety of appropriate sources, including electronic, print, and/or human sources,
using suitable formats and an accepted form of academic documentation
A2. identify and describe careers related to the fields of science under study, and describe
contributions of scientists, including Canadians, to those fields.
A2.2 describe the contributions of scientists, including Canadians (e.g., Evelyn
Roden Nelson, Maude Menten, Albert Juan Aguayo, Kimberley J. Fernie,
Michael Archer), to the fields under study
E3. demonstrate an understanding of the anatomy and physiology of human body
systems, and explain the mechanisms that enable the body to maintain homeostasis.
E3.1 describe the anatomy and physiology of the endocrine, excretory, and
nervous systems, and explain how these systems interact to maintain homeostasis
E3.2 explain how reproductive hormones act in human feedback mechanisms to
maintain homeostasis (e.g., the actions of male and female reproductive hormones
on their respective body systems)
APA Formatting and Style Guide. Retrieved from
Gower, T. (2011). The History of Insulin. Retrieved from
Maugh, T. (1987). Discovered Human Growth Hormone: Choh Hao Li. Los Angeles Times.
Retrieved from http://articles.latimes.com/1987-12-02/news/mn-17142_1_human-
Russell, L. (2011). The History of Thyroid Disease. Retrieved from
Testesterone Study. (2008). Testosterone History. Retrieved from
Whonamedit? (2011). Allen, Edgar. Retrieved from
Homeostasis and Control Systems
Positive and negative feedback mechanisms.
The Urinary System
The Endocrine System
Some hormones that effect blood sugar and metabolism,
The Nervous System
Students will be given the handout of this assignment presented as a newspaper article
After a 50 to 60 minute lesson about Electrochemical impulse, introduce this assignment
and distribute the Student Handout of this assignment and the Rubric
This assignment is introduced early and given a late due date to ensure the students have
sufficient time to complete this task.
Read the Introduction of Homeostasis on the Student Handout (for the students to
understand how they are expected to approach the history of their homeostatic system)
Read Purpose of this Task on the Student Handout
History of Homeostatic Systems Student Instructions:
Go back in time and individually create a 300-500 word newspaper article/front page
that represents the discovery of one homeostatic mechanism/hormone listed.
The assignment may be computer generated or created by hand.
If students prefer to do a topic not listed on the Student Handout, remind them to propose
their topic to teacher for approval
Due Day 19
Remind students that there are some resources available to them to help start their
o Information to Include:
Scientist(s) who made discovery
How, when, where the discovery was made
Information of the feedback mechanism
Image of the feedback mechanism
Consequences of the particular homeostatic system not executing
References cited in APA form
Remind students to visit:
The List of Topics:
The Discovery of Insulin
The History of Thyroid Disease
The Discovery of Testosterone
The Discovery of Estrogen
The Discovery of Thermoregulation in Vertebrates
The Discovery of Growth Hormone
The Discovery of Feedback loops
Present this assignment in the form of a newspaper article so that students have an idea of
how to design their newspaper article. Hence the Student Handout looks like a
newspaper front page.
Depending on the level of students, provide students with at least one resource to help
guide their research (Attached to this Appendix).
Remember to advise the students to be creative and to pick their topic by the end of the
Book at least two computer lab sessions for students to work on this assignment during
class (this accommodates those who do not have Internet access at home).
Students might not be familiar with certain homeostatic systems due to this assignment
being introduced on Day 13.
Modifications for Special Student Needs:
Students with and an IEP or ELLs may be relocated to a resource center for additional
Refer to History of HomeostasisStudentHandout.doc
The History of Insulin
By: Timothy Gower
The modern age has been full of amazing technological advances -- high-speed travel, the
Internet, blue M&M's... However, if you have type 1 diabetes, you are no doubt a big fan of one
particular 20th century innovation: insulin therapy. Before there was insulin therapy, people
whose bodies stopped producing the hormone didn't hang around for long; there wasn't much
doctors could do for them.
In the 19th century, after researchers figured out that the body needs this critical hormone to burn
glucose as energy, doctors tried different ways to restart production of insulin in people with type
1 diabetes. Some physicians even tried feeding fresh pancreas to patients. The experiment failed
(and probably left more than a few patients begging for a palate-cleansing sorbet), as did the
other attempts to replace missing insulin.
Finally, in 1922 a former divinity student named Dr. Frederick Banting figured out how to
extract insulin from a dog's pancreas. Skeptical colleagues said the stuff looked like "thick brown
muck." Banting injected the insulin into the keister of a 14-year-old boy named Leonard
Thompson, whose body was so ravaged by diabetes that he weighed only 65 pounds. Little
Leonard developed abscesses on his bottom and still felt lousy, though his blood sugar improved
slightly. Encouraged, Banting refined the formula for insulin and tried again six weeks later. This
time Leonard's condition improved rapidly. His blood sugar dropped from 520 mg/dl to a more
manageable 120 mg/dl. He gained weight, and his strength returned. (Poor Lenny -- although his
diabetes remained in control for years, he died of pneumonia when he was just 27.)
Banting and a colleague, Dr. John Macleod, won the Nobel Prize for their work. Commercial
production of insulin for treating diabetes began soon after. For many years, drug companies
derived the hormone using pancreases that came primarily from stockyards, taken from
slaughtered cows and pigs, which didn't need the organs anymore.
Animal insulin has saved millions of lives, but it has a problem: It causes allergic reactions in
some users. In 1978, a fledgling biotechnology company named Genentech produced the first
synthetically manufactured insulin that could be made in large amounts. Using bacteria or yeast
as miniature "factories," the gene for human insulin was inserted into bacterial DNA. The result
was human insulin, called recombinant DNA insulin, which did not cause the problems that
animal insulin sometimes did.
When it became widely available in the early 1980s, this new insulin changed the treatment of
diabetes forever. Today, almost all people with diabetes who require insulin use a form of
recombinant human insulin rather than animal insulin.
Diabetes Medications, By the Numbers
Among adults in the United States who have been diagnosed
16 percent take insulin only.
12 percent take both insulin and oral diabetes
57 percent take oral diabetes medications only.
15 percent do not take insulin or oral diabetes
History of Thyroid Disease http://www.ehow.com/about_5476804_history-thyroid-disease.html
Discovered Human Growth Hormone : Choh Hao Li, 74; Endocrinologist at UC
December 02, 1987|THOMAS H. MAUGH II | Times Science Writer
Choh Hao Li, the endocrinologist who discovered the human growth hormone and gave
thousands of abnormally short children the chance for a more normal life, died Saturday in
Berkeley, officials at UC San Francisco announced Tuesday. He was 74.
In more than 50 years of research in the University of California system, Li played a key role in
the discovery of eight of the nine critical hormones produced by the pituitary gland, a pea-sized
organ deep in the brain that regulates body growth, metabolism and fertility.
"Li's work at Berkeley was of major importance to endocrinology because he was one of the first
chemists interested in isolating pituitary hormones and able to do it," said endocrinologist Roger
Guillemin of the Salk Institute in La Jolla.
"He was also unusual in that he worked closely with biologists such as George Herbert Evans to
understand their biological function," Guillemin said.
Among the hormones Li discovered were the luteinizing hormone and the follicle-stimulating
hormone, both of which show promise for use in birth control and regulating fertility, and
adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), the so-called stress hormone that was used to treat
various diseases before the advent of synthetic steroid hormones.
One of his last major accomplishments was the discovery of beta-endorphin, the most powerful
of the body's natural painkillers.
But the achievement for which Li is most likely to be remembered was the discovery in 1955 of
the human growth hormone--which, as the name implies, stimulates the growth of children and
adolescents. He then developed a method of isolating the hormone from human cadavers and
purifying it so that it could be administered to children suffering from a form of dwarfism caused
by a growth hormone deficiency.
At the program's peak in 1973, 82,500 pituitary glands were collected for treatment of about
3,000 children. The program subsequently declined because fewer autopsies were performed and
fewer pituitaries were collected.
By 1971, he had determined the structure of the human growth hormone and synthesized it in
small quantities. That feat paved the way for production of the hormone in genetically
engineered bacteria, greatly expanding the supply. The product was approved for sale in October,
1985, and about 6,000 U.S. children are now receiving the hormone.
Born and educated in China, Li emigrated to the United States in 1935 for graduate study in
chemistry at UC Berkeley. After receiving his doctorate in 1938, he joined the Berkeley staff and
remained there until 1967, when he moved to UC San Francisco. He became a U.S. citizen in
The History of Thyroid Disease
By Lisa M. Russell, eHow Contributor
The history of the discovery of thyroid disease is as complicated as the diseases themselves. The
name "thyroid" was given to this small gland in the neck by Thomas Wharton ,who named it
after the shape of an ancient Grecian shield. Leonardo da Vinci was the first to draw the thyroid,
in 1500, and it was mentioned in Hindu holy texts in 300 BC. Medical discoveries over the years
have led to cures that continue to improve the lives of people suffering from thyroid disease.
1. The path to medical discovery sometimes takes strange turns. In 650, Sun Ssu-Mo, a
Chinese doctor, used dried and powdered shells mixed with chopped thyroid glands as a
prescription for goiter, an enlarged thyroid. Seaweed and marine sponges were used as
treatment for goiter throughout the ages, and today you can purchase seaweed as a
remedy for some, but not all, thyroid conditions.
An interesting pharmaceutical note is that in 1917 thyroxine, the principle thyroid
hormone, was produced for $350 per gram. Today the synthetic version of thyroxine is an
inexpensive treatment for hypothyroidism, a condition in which the thyroid does not
produce enough hormone.
2. Graves' disease, an autoimmune disease causing the thyroid to enlarge twice its size,
causes increased heartbeat, irritability, insomnia and muscle weakness. It can also cause
exophthalmos (bulging eyes). It has a hereditary link and affects women more than men.
Graves' disease was first named and described by an Irish doctor in 1835. Robert James
Graves reported on a case of goiter and bulging eyes. The disease was named for Graves,
but Karl Adolph von Basedow, a German doctor, reported the same symptoms in 1840
and the same disease was named the Basedow's syndrome. Other names were used, but
Graves' disease was the name that stuck.
Graves was the first physician to give a full description of exophthalmic goiter. He
noticed the rapid and loud heartbeat (he could hear it from 4 feet away) and enlarged
thyroid. He lectured and published on what he observed: "The eyeballs were visibly
enlarged to such a degree the eyelids were unable to shut during sleep and when trying to
close the eye. When the eyes were open the white of the eyes could be seen in the breadth
of several lines around all of cornea."
Before Graves' writings, a 12th-century Persian physician, Sayyid Ismail al-Jurjani, wrote
in "Thesaurus of the Shah of Khwarazm"-- the authoritative medical ext of the time,
about the connection of goiter and the bulging eyes syndrome.
3. A silent and painless autoimmune disease, Hashimoto's disease is the most diagnosed
thyroid disease and the most common cause of low thyroid production. Hashimoto's
thyroiditis occurs when your body makes antibodies that gradually stop the hormone-
producing cells in your thyroid.
Hakaru Hashimoto was born into a family of doctors and was one of the first graduates of
a new medical school at Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Japan. Hashimoto was the first
to describe this disorder of the thyroid, which he called struma lymphomatosa. The
thyroid glands of these patients were explained as "diffuse lymphocytic infiltration,
fibrosis, parenchymal atrophy, and an eosinophilic change in some of the acinar cells,"
which is still the medical definition.
Iodine and Thyroid Disease
4. Iodine is an element needed by the thyroid to function. Iodized table salt reduced the
incidence of goiters in the United States, but some countries and populations still are
deficient in iodine. It is dangerous to take iodine supplements in some types of thyroid
In 1811, Bernard Courtois discovered iodine by oxidizing burnt seaweed with sulfuric
acid. A few years later, in 1820, Jean Francois Coindet made the connection between
iodine deficiency and goiter, and he began treating goiters with iodine.
In 1907, David Marine suggested treating Graves disease with iodine. The hazards of
overdose of iodine were outlined in 1912 by Theodore Kocher, who won a Nobel Prize
for his reseasrch on the thyroid.
The "goiter belt" in the United States was defined in 1926: the iodine concentration in
rainwater and in drinking water decreases as one travels from the Atlantic coast to the
Great Lakes. The soils around the Great Lakes are iodine depleted and people who lived
there had more incidences of goiter than those in other areas..
5. Thyroid cancer is not like the autoimmune diseases Graves and Hashimoto. Thyroid
cancer is rare, accounting for only 1 percent of the cancers diagnosed annually The exact
cause is unknown, but a growing amount of research point is to a mutated gene, perhaps
caused by exposure to radiation in childhood. .
Read more: The History of Thyroid Disease | eHow.com
Biography of Allen, Edgar
American anatomist and physiologist, born May 2, 1892, Canyon City, Colorado; died February
3, 1943, New Haven, Connecticut.
Edgar Allen, a leading authority on the mechanisms of sex hormones, discovered oestrogen and
investigated the hormonal mechanisms that control the female reproductive cycle.
Born in Colorado, Edgar Allen was the son of a physician. He received his early education in the
public schools of Pawtucket and Cranston, Rhode Island. He attended Brown University and
earned all of his higher degrees at that institution. He became Ph. B, in 1915, M.A. (biology), in
1916, and in 1921 was conferred doctor of philosophy with a dissertation on biology.
During World War I his studies were interrupted for a short time by military service. In 1918 he
married Marion Pfeiffer of Providence; the couple had two daughters.
Allen's distinguished academic career began in 1919 when he was appointed instructor and
associate of anatomy at the School of Medicine of Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri.
In 1923 he was appointed professor of anatomy at the school of medicine, University of
Missouri, where he subsequently became dean of the medical school and director of university
hospitals He remained there for ten years before in 1933 returning to the east coast as professor
of anatomy and chairman of the department at the Yale School of Medicine, a position he held
until his death.
The mouse cycle
Allen's Ph. D. thesis, published in 1922, presented a detailed description of the cellular changes
in primary and secondary sex organs over the course of a complete reproductive cycle in a
During the early 1920's several investigators had suggested that the ovary might be the control
centre for this cycle; it was thought that the fluid content of the corpus luteum might be the
active agent of control. Allen's Ph. D. thesis cast doubt on this latter hypothesis. He noticed that
at any given time during the cycle corpora lutea could be found in many different stages of
degeneration, making it highly unlikely that they could be controlling a series of progressive
Investigating the origins and development of the ovum in 1923, Allen observed that females do
not possess a full complement of ova at birth but instead accumulate them by continual
production in the germinal epithelium, and the follicles that develop around them have a cycle of
growth and decay not unlike that of the corpus luteum. Allen hazarded that the ovarian follicles,
not the corpus luteum, might be the controlling factor in the oestrous cycle. Seeking to confirm
his suspicions, Allen, in collaboration with noted biochemist Edward A. Doisy, performed a
series of experiments using fluid extracted from the ovarian follicle. It was found that repeated
injections of the substance produced histological changes that replicated the early stages of a
normal menstruation. When the substance was withheld the subject entered a later menstrual
Allen and Doisy had discovered the existence and the effects of oestrogen. Within fifteen years
the other hormones that influence oestrus were also discovered and the relations between them
were becoming clear. All of Allen's subsequent works were concerned, in some way, with these
sex hormones. He proved, for example, that oestrogen causes the onset of puberty in immature
female animals and demonstrated that the hormonal mechanisms of primates (including man) are
very similar to those of rodents, on which the original studies had been done.
Allen also studied the relation between oestrogen and malignancy, in order to determine whether
there is any similarity between rapid cell growth caused by estrogenic stimulation and rapid cell
growth that is characteristic of cancerous tissue. In addition, Allen's publications contain a
wealth of methodological information that was of great value to subsequent researches in
Allen presided over the American Association of Anatomists and the Association for the Study
of Internal Secretions, also serving as an advisory trustee (1939-1943) of the Scientific Advisory
Committee of the International Cancer Research Foundation. In recognition of his significant
role in the advancement of modern endocrinology he was made a member of the French Legion
of Honour in 1937 and was awarded the prestigious Baly Medal of the British Royal College of
Physicians in 1941.
A devoted sailor, Allen joined the Coast Guard Auxiliary at the onset of Long Island Sound.
His bibliography, containing more than 140 items, can be found in the Yale Journal of Biology
and Medicine, 1944-1945, 17 part I, along with his curriculum vitae. The Yale Journal, 1943, 15,
contains an excellent biographical sketch of Allen