The realization that glucose is absorbed by co-transport with sodium was a basic science finding that has led to a treatment that has saved the lives of many humans.

One of the major killers of young infants is diarrhea, often induced by infections such as cholera. For example, in 1982, the World Health Organization estimated that there were more than one billion cases of diarrhea, causing nearly five million deaths of children. Death from diarrhea can occur when the person loses so much fluid that their plasma volume becomes very low, leading to an elevation in blood potassium (potentially depolarizing cells) and potentially causing blood pressures to be so low that the heart cannot effectively pump blood through the body.

In 2013, there were more than 1.7 billion cases of diarrhea, and deaths to children from diarrhea were reduced to under 800,000. This was due to the introduction of Oral Rehydration Therapy (ORT). A common ORT solution is 45 mmol/l NaCl, 75 mmol/l glucose, 20 mmol/l KCl, and 10 mmol/liter trisodium citrate.