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A leech's place is in the medical cabinet...

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posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 12:55 PM
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Medicinal leeches are bloodsucking, aquatic cousins of the earthworm that hail from Europe. Doctors used leeches for bloodletting — thought to be good for whatever ailed patients — from Hippocrates' time through the mid-19th century. Leeches fell out of favor when doctors finally recognized that patients they bled fared no better, and often worse, than other patients.

It's often trickier to connect veins, which carry blood back to the heart, than arteries, which carry blood from the heart. So before grafted tissue gets new vein growth, it can become congested with blood. Sometimes surgery can fix the problem, but if it can't, the graft might fail.

Enter the leech. Not only does it suck out excess blood, but its saliva contains a powerful blood thinner. So even after it fills up and drops off, bleeding continues.


From a very old but intersting article: www.usatoday.com...

We tend to think of leeches as nasty creatures with no good purpose, but they in fact have many valid medicinal uses, as shown in this article! Leeches have been used medicinally since ages unknown. Once again modern science vindicates "old wives's tales!"




posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 01:00 PM
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Leeches are also cool looking.

I wanted it to be a one liner, but by just saying "that's a one liner" ruins the one linededness.



posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 01:02 PM
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Originally posted by Crabmeat
Leeches are also cool looking.


Most people would disagree wityou you. It's funny how some of the most important animals in nature are also the uglieset!



posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 01:05 PM
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Most people find maggots disgusting too, but they can also be used medically:


It's hard to imagine that these ooky, squirmy creatures can heal wounds and even help save lives. Maggots, by definition, are fly larvae, just as caterpillars are butterfly or moth larvae. Maggots hatch from eggs laid by mature adult flies. The initial maggots, called first instars, molt (shed their skin) twice to become third instars in a span of about five days. The maggots then look for a dry place to pupate and undergo metamorphosis to adult flies after another week. Only initial maggots (first or second instars) are used to help clean wounds.

The process by which maggots infest humans or other vertebrates is called myiasis. Inducing this process in a controlled clinical environment acts to help the wound in several ways. Maggots debride, or clean, wounds by dissolving dead, infected tissue; they also kill bacteria in the wound and therefore have a disinfectant effect; and they stimulate wound healing.


The images are not very pretty, but you can go to this link to read more:
www.amputee-coalition.org...



posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 01:08 PM
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reply to post by ziggystar60
 


Very true. I've heard stories of people living through accidents or battle field injuries only because the leeches kept the necrotic flesh from spreading around their wounds.



posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 01:14 PM
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I also just remembered the "Doctor Fish", which is used to treat psoriasis:


In Japan you can pay to get flesh eating fish--ok, perhaps I'm exaggerating, let's say "skin eating"-- to chew off your flaky and dry skin caused by psoriasis outbreaks, eczema, or calluses.
Actually, this fish-based skin treatment called Garra rufa therapy, is not a new trend. Hot springs in Turkey and Germany have offered this psoriasis treatment for ages. Basically, all it requires is for you to step into a hot pool teaming with the fish. They come up to you and start nibbling away the flaking skin.
The tiny Garra rufa fish is none other than your simple carp, that thrive in hot pools, and gets starved of their routine foods like algae. The flaky skin thus becomes a tasty morsel.


www.realself.com...



posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 01:18 PM
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reply to post by ziggystar60
 


That is a totally new one for me! Thanks!

If I were a scientist, I would like to study vultures to help prevent food poisoning in humans.



posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 01:21 PM
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We use them in Pediatrics. they are lab grown and sterile.

We use them for finger reattachemnts. You put the leach on the finger tip and it releves swelling and the chemicals that it excretes keeps the finger bleeding and relieves pain. It works much better than the drugs we would use otherwise.

When done we kill them by putting them in a container and pouring rubbing alcohol over them.

They look like slugs but they are very very fast.



posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 01:32 PM
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Why do you kill them?

Is it like re-using a needle to use a leech twice?

COuld you at least use it more than once in the same patient?



posted on Nov, 10 2008 @ 01:00 PM
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Originally posted by asmeone2
Why do you kill them?

Is it like re-using a needle to use a leech twice?

COuld you at least use it more than once in the same patient?




Bingo, it would be like using the same needle for multiple patients esp. given the risk of disease transpher etc.

You could in theory use the same leach twice on the same patient, but the time it takes for the leech to be ready to feed again usally precludes its use. The limb is reatached (or not) by that time. Also, storing them and keeping them alive would be a hassle and not as cost effective as just getting a new one.



posted on Nov, 10 2008 @ 02:05 PM
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Interesting Fred T. I would have thought that they would have had some kind of antibiotic in their system that would neutralize any diseases they take int, since that's how they stay alive.



posted on Nov, 10 2008 @ 03:29 PM
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Originally posted by asmeone2
Interesting Fred T. I would have thought that they would have had some kind of antibiotic in their system that would neutralize any diseases they take int, since that's how they stay alive.


I have no idea if say hepatits would effect the leech, however, it could become a carrier and transmit it to the other patient you may use it on.




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