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Medical History: Blood-letting as a treatment modality
Bloodletting survives, after more than 2,500 years
Bloodletting still have value
More that 2.5 millenniums have passed and bloodletting still has value and can be practiced legally by qualified physicians. Bloodletting is not practiced using the same methods, or reasoning, that the physicians of old embraced. In the centuries past bloodletting was use to treat all manner of disorders and illnesses before the time of Louis Pasteur, Joseph Lister and Robert Koch. After these three scientists helped to show how microbes caused many illness that bloodletting could not cure, the practice of bloodletting was not used to a major extent.
Bloodletting, using the concept of phlebotomy, is still used today for a small number of medical conditions.
However, the most popular, or common use of bloodletting is in application of the medical leech. It is amazing how medical leeches are used in plastic and reconstructive surgery worldwide and has a potential to help relieve symptoms in sufferers of osteoarthritis. In this regard, a medical practice that is more than 2500 years old is being applied by modern medical practitioners.
Doctor us medical leeches that are maintained pure environments in order to achieve and maintain high clinical standards. The leech species "hirudo medicinalis/verbena," the European medicinal leech, is the most popular leech used in medical applications. However, the Asian medicinal leech, hirudinaria manillensis, is also a popular medical leech.
Leeches have teeth. For example, the Hirudo leech has three jaws, with 100 teeth in each jaw, for a sum total of 300 teeth. When a leech is applied to a site on a person's body, it has to bite into skin, to suck the blood, but the bite is painless because the leech releases an anesthetic, and injects an anti=coagulant serum into the victim's flesh, to prevent blood clotting. After it begins sucking the blood, it will gorge itself until it filled up and then it fall off automatically.
It is believed that the first medical leech was applied in the first medical procedure approximately 1,000 years ago. Today, the medical procedures in which the medical leech is applied helps to decrease deaths in critical patients. Isn't it wonderful how some approaches to the treatment serious medical conditions never change. This is a very remarkable thing.