Friday, 18 April 2008

Bloodsuckers


Demi Moore uses leech therapy to "optimize" her health. It sounds like the latest celeb fad, up there with Gwyneth Paltrow and her cupping or the latest mad diet. We might associate leeches and bloodletting with the middle ages, but there are uses for leeches, and maggots, in modern healthcare.

Leeches are being used in operations - plastic surgery, orthopaedics - where there is a danger that blood will flow into veins, and not out again, leading to congestion and possible loss of limbs. David Isitt's leg was saved last year by 30 leeches following surgery on his leg at Barts and the London. It's not such a new concept - the student BMJ considered "creepy crawly medicine" back in 2002.

Biopharm Leeches sell leeches for medicine, and their website has a range of facts, from contra-indications and how to attach a leech, to such fascinating snippets as leeches have 32 brains and their nearest relative is the earthworm.

To search the internet for health stories on leeches, avoiding Ms Moore, try using Google Scholar. Because it indexes serious journals it wont find results from the various entertainment and gossip websites. Or use Google but type "-demi" (that's Demi with a minus sign before it) to ask Google to ignore items with that word in it.

You can also search for papers on leeches using the National Library for Health's NLH 2.0 search. This isn't the search box on the home page - it's the one you'll find when you scroll down and click on Books, Journals and Healthcare Databases - more on that next week.

1 comment:

Monitor LCD said...

Hello. This post is likeable, and your blog is very interesting, congratulations :-). I will add in my blogroll =). If possible gives a last there on my blog, it is about the Monitor de LCD, I hope you enjoy. The address is http://monitor-de-lcd.blogspot.com. A hug.