Friday, March 24, 2023

The return of medieval medicine: moths and leeches are seen as medicinal

Do you work on waterfalls? Mix the rabbit’s bile with honey and apply it to the eye feather. Use this treatment for three nights in a row and voila. As strange as it may seem now, it turns out that this was one of the medical prescriptions that was used in the Middle Ages. Many of them we now know are rubbish, but perhaps others are not. Some have even returned to our days and are used in hospitals around the world, even in Spain.

A very clear example of this is ghosting. It has been used as a remedy for healing wounds since unwary times, especially made popular in wartime contexts. It was the so-called father of military surgery, Francois Ambroise Paré, who in the famous battle of San Quentin (1557) felt the healing power that fly masks had on soldiers’ injuries. However, the person who had to define exactly how this method worked was none other than Napoleon Bonaparte’s surgeon general, Baron Dominique Larrey.

Its use lasted until World War I and beware that in 2022, in the middle of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, a video of Russian soldiers using this method has gone viral. The novelty of the thing made the memory go round, but the truth is that for a few years it was also used in hospitals.

“Larval therapy is effective in patients with chemical injuries who have suffered a major amputation or burn,” Andreu Jaume Rigo, a nurse specializing in the deterioration of skin integrity, ulcers and wounds and a scientific disseminator through the Internet, explains to EL ESPAÑOL. Cares and Wounds.

no direct contact

According to the expert, what this method, also known as worm therapy or biosurgery, uses the common fly maggot (Lucilla Sericata) to remove the necrotic tissue from the wound. Also, it is commented that it can be used as a clean wound after debridement (removal of necrotic tissue), especially if it is considered that the lesion shows a tendency to make devitalized tissue. So the area can be properly restored and infections can be avoided. And peace of mind is most feared: as explained by Rigo, the form of application is through rare bags that contain masks.

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The clinical guidelines of the Spanish Association of Vascular and Wound Nursing (AEEVH) recognize this practice as an effective way to treat certain injuries. However, as Daphne Vázquez, an emergency nurse specializing in wounds and a distributor in the same place, explains, this therapy can only be requested with external medication. “The request must come from the hospital pharmacy, with a doctor’s report justifying said request,” he clarifies.

For this reason there are few cases in the country in which this therapy has been used. But other countries, such as Britain, are experiencing a boom. According to a report issued by the health system, almost 15,000 patients have benefited from this remedy since 2007. Figures can be more if you don’t mind some doctors can administer this treatment. Not because of its effectiveness, but because they find the concept “disgusting”, as a study published in the Journal of Wound Care showed.

Equally unpleasant can be the treatment of leeches, another therapy from the Middle Ages, which seems to have returned to our days. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allowed the sale of its “medical device” in 2004 to draw blood in certain cases. The United Kingdom also uses hirudotherapy – the name by which this type of treatment is known – as a hospital dispensing.

not everything goes

But on the other side of the coin we pay for the leeches. This is not the case with ghost therapy, which has been shown to have scientific support behind it. Here, in Spain, they have no expertise to talk about the subject with a scientific signature, because there is none. Thus, in 2019, EL ESPAÑOL discovered the business of the “blood doctor”, a woman who is the only clinic in Spain that offers hirudotherapy. Its cause is far from the FDA recommendation, when it is used in these animals for any type of pain and inflammation and circulatory treatment.

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For this reason, the Society for the Protection of Patients from Pseudoscientific Therapies (APETP) filed a complaint on this matter with the Collegiate Medical Organization and the Madrid College of Physicians.

Probably in this doctor, his ancestors played a role. She was Russian and, in this country, leeches do not return, because they never left. Despite the nation’s efforts to improve the health system, a large part of its population, especially in rural areas, cannot afford the financial burden of anticoagulant medication. For this reason, many people continue to buy leech as a preventive treatment for stroke and heart disease.

Because, what is certain, the leech has shown beneficial circulation, which has led pharmaceutical giants to develop drugs from its venom. So in Spain, even if the blood doesn’t move that bug, it can be beneficial.

You can do this through lepirudin, an active drug that is approved and works as an antithrombotic anticoagulant. “It represents a new type of stopping in this group of drugs, when it draws from hirudin (an anticoagulant from the medicinal leech), the propellant says. Today it is the active ingredient in Refludin, an anticoagulant for heparin-associated thrombocytopenia.

Natural compounds are seen as a new alternative to the drugs that have been used so far, especially in the context of the drama of antibiotic resistance, a problem that caused 1.27 million deaths in 2019, more than AIDS or malaria. The indiscriminate use of these drugs has become a major science and medicine issue, since it is estimated that by 2050 this cause could cause ten million deaths.

Thus, as Rigo and Vázquez comment, this is precisely among the reasons that explain the attempts of mask therapy as a health remedy. It seems that he renders the past as the future.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
Nation World News is the fastest emerging news website covering all the latest news, world’s top stories, science news entertainment sports cricket’s latest discoveries, new technology gadgets, politics news, and more.
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