[Marxism] Why They Hate Us...

Mike Friedman mikedf at mail.amnh.org
Sun Dec 5 10:01:27 MST 2004


Beware of dismissing traditional techniques and forms of medicine as 
"backward" simply because of the cultural milieu: the use of medicinal 
leeches for bleeding has been revived as a legitimate form of treatment for 
certain conditions. For example, according to one article 
(http://www.studentbmj.com/back_issues/0898/data/0898ed5.htm):

"In the 1980s leeches "crawled out of their therapeutic closet" when 
plastic surgeons found its local anticoagulant and bloodletting properties 
useful for relieving venous congestion in grafts and transplants.(5) 
Failure of adequate venous return from a graft reduces blood supply, 
causing tissue necrosis. Placing a leech on the congested skin flap, 
finger, or other compromised area removes the congested blood and enables 
the graft to be salvaged. Leeches are currently used during postoperative 
care of reimplanted fingers, skin grafts, and breast reconstructions.

[...]

Pharmacological interest in the leech began when hirudin, an anticoagulant, 
was identified in the saliva of leeches in 1884. Hirudin was used in early 
transfusion experiments 30 years before heparin was used. Since 1986, when 
hirudin was genetically engineered, interest has been revived in the drug 
as a systemic anticoagulant free of some of heparin's side effects.(10) The 
salivary glands of leeches also produce a cornucopia of other 
pharmacologically active substances, including an antihistamine, proteases, 
and, possibly, an anaesthetic and an antibiotic.(5)

[...]

As the benefits of judicious treatment with leeches are recognised, the 
range of conditions that can be treated extends. There are case reports of 
effective leech treatment for haematomas,(11) purpura fulminans,(12) 
paronychia,(13) and even vascular congestion of the penis.(14) And leech 
saliva may provide a host of new drugs. If we have learnt any lesson from 
the past it is that controlled trials are essential, but leeches are 
probably back in the formulary to stay."

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>From: paul bunyan <cutemdown2003 at yahoo.com>
>Subject: Re: [Marxism] Why They Hate Us...
>
>This thread reminds me of an account I read of the "Crusades". During a 
>truce period European and Arab physicians got together to compare notes on 
>each others medical procedures. Afterwards an Arab and Muslim doctor 
>exclaimed, "My god, the Christians are still bleeding (applying blood 
>sucking leeches to the body-km) patients in this day and age!" By the 
>western calender this was the 13th century. As late as the early 19th 
>century "bleeding" was still be used by doctors in the US.





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