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yks 6nnetu hing
04-01-2015, 02:34 AM
I just had a nerdgasm... linky to the article (http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-medieval-remedy-superbug-20150331-story.html)

At the University of Nottingham in Britain, researchers have rediscovered an ancient medicinal elixir that appears to fight a very modern scourge: a deadly drug-resistant bacterial infection rampant in hospitals..

The discovery melds medieval potion-making with modern pharmacology. In its crosshairs: Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, better known as MRSA.

Let's imagine that during a nighttime escape through Sherwood Forest, an early archetype for the legendary figure Robin Hood scratched his cornea on a branch and developed an eye infection. In nearby Nottingham, he might well have consulted an herbalist, who would fetch a brass vessel, brew a remedy of bile from a cow's stomach and Allium - a plant from the garlic family - and create an unguent to treat the patient's inflamed eye.

Until recently, the recipe for that medieval remedy lay unnoticed in the brittle pages of a 1,000-year-old text - titled "Bald's Leechbook" - shelved in the library of the University of Nottingham's Institute for Medieval Research.

Leafing through that folio, Viking studies professor Christina Lee wondered what its ancient recipes revealed about the state of medieval medical knowledge, and whether and how, a millennium before the germ theory of disease was understood, healers and herbalists had guessed right in choosing their treatments.

Lee translated the recipe for the eye salve from the original Old English recipe in "Bald's Leechbook," and enlisted chemists at her university's Center for Biomolecular Sciences to recreate the unguent and test its effect.

Lee's request came at a crucial time. With a paucity of new antimicrobial medications in the development pipeline, Nottingham microbiologist Freya Harrison was looking for inspiration. Lee's idea might allow her team to reach deep into the past in search of undiscovered or underappreciated antimicrobial agents.

Scientists in Harrison's lab followed the recipe precisely, making four separate batches with fresh ingredients each time. They also devised a control treatment using the same quantity of distilled water and brass sheet to mimic the brewing container, but leaving the vegetable compounds out.

In lab conditions that set off riotous growth of the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, the 1,000-year-old recipe had a powerful killing effect: roughly 1 in 1,000 bacterial cells growing in plugs of collagen survived when doused with the ancient salve.

[See a video about the Nottingham project here.]

Later, in infected wounds induced in mice, the remedy killed 90% of MRSA bacteria.

Harrison says she was "absolutely blown away" with the antique recipe's effects. She had assumed it might show "a small amount of antibiotic activity." Researchers have found some of its elements - copper and bile salts in particular - to have some effect on bacteria in the lab. And plants in the garlic family are known to make chemicals that interfere with bacteria’s ability to damage infected tissues.

But compared with the control substance, there was something powerful about the combination of these elements in this ancient formulation, Harrison said. The eye salve had the power even to breach the sticky coating and the dense clustering of mature colonies of bacteria, which are notorious resistant to antibacterial treatments.

When Harrison's lab diluted the salve to see whether it would continue to work, they perceived what they believe is the medication's mechanism of action: Even when the diluted salve failed to kill S. aureus, it interfered with communication among cells in the bacterial colony - a key finding because those signals switch on genes that allow bacteria to damage infected tissues. Blocking this signaling is seen as a promising way to treat infection.

"We know that MRSA-infected wounds are exceptionally difficult to treat in people and in mouse models," said Kendra Rumbaugh, who performed the testing of Bald’s remedy on MRSA-infected skin wounds in mice. "We have not tested a single antibiotic or experimental therapeutic that is completely effective," added Rumbaugh, a professor of surgery at Texas Tech University's School of Medicine. But she said the ancient remedy was at least as effective - "if not better than the conventional antibiotics we used.”

The collaboration between Old English remedies and microbiology has given rise to a program called AncientBiotics at Nottingham, where researchers will seek funding to extend research combining the ancient arts and modern sciences.


now, just hoping that it's not some elaborate April Fools joke

Terez
04-01-2015, 02:52 AM
Awesome if true. And I just realized that the letter I'm sending to my French tutor today for my lesson is all about poissons d'avril. I translated it a couple of months ago.

Isabel
04-01-2015, 10:35 AM
Nope its not a joke, but it's really cool :)

Davian93
04-01-2015, 10:37 AM
April Fools?


If real....cool, if not...Sad.

GonzoTheGreat
04-01-2015, 11:37 AM
It seems to be real; I already read about it yesterday. On the other hand, it may not be quite as effective as proper antibiotics are: from what I've read, it killed 90% of the bacteria. That sounds nice, but bacteria can multiply vary rapidly, so this might not be more than a few hours of extra time. Which often can make all the difference, but is not always enough.

Davian93
04-01-2015, 05:40 PM
It seems to be real; I already read about it yesterday. On the other hand, it may not be quite as effective as proper antibiotics are: from what I've read, it killed 90% of the bacteria. That sounds nice, but bacteria can multiply vary rapidly, so this might not be more than a few hours of extra time. Which often can make all the difference, but is not always enough.

One report I saw said it killed 999 out of 1000 bacteria cells....in mice.



Sadly, when it comes to medical testing, there is a long, long way from "works in mice" to "works in humans"...sometimes it takes decades and lots of times, it never happens.


Hope its true though...same with the work they've been doing finding new antibiotics in dirt/soil. God knows we need to figure something out to stay ahead of the curve right now.

yks 6nnetu hing
04-02-2015, 01:53 AM
One report I saw said it killed 999 out of 1000 bacteria cells....in mice.



Sadly, when it comes to medical testing, there is a long, long way from "works in mice" to "works in humans"...sometimes it takes decades and lots of times, it never happens.


Hope its true though...same with the work they've been doing finding new antibiotics in dirt/soil. God knows we need to figure something out to stay ahead of the curve right now.

After a little bit of clicking about I found the recipe (http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/balds-eye-salve-1000-year-old-potion-kills-superbug-mrsa-1494292). It's really simple, as these things go:

Bald's eye salve recipe

Two species of Allium (garlic and onion or leek)
Wine and oxgall (bile from a cow's stomach)

Instructions
Use a brass vessel to brew the potion, straining it to purify, then leave for nine days before use.

I guess the only thing that's a bit difficult to obtain would be the bile, but I'm sure there are modern equivalents for it that don't require killing loads of cows.

Terez
04-02-2015, 03:37 AM
We kill loads of them anyway; slaughterhouses might appreciate an opportunity for more profit.

GonzoTheGreat
04-02-2015, 04:03 AM
Sadly, when it comes to medical testing, there is a long, long way from "works in mice" to "works in humans"...sometimes it takes decades and lots of times, it never happens.
Actually, we've already had about 100 decades since this recipe was published, and in that time, no significant detrimental side effects of the cure have come to light.

The only problem seems to be that the patent expired before patents were even legally possible, so there's not much money to be made from this by big corporations. Which means that they don't have any incentive to bring it to market. Now if only government were allowed to meddle in health care ...

Davian93
04-02-2015, 06:24 AM
Actually, we've already had about 100 decades since this recipe was published, and in that time, no significant detrimental side effects of the cure have come to light.

The only problem seems to be that the patent expired before patents were even legally possible, so there's not much money to be made from this by big corporations. Which means that they don't have any incentive to bring it to market. Now if only government were allowed to meddle in health care ...

Just because someone thought it worked in humans 1000 years ago doesnt mean it actually did. Thus, there will be rounds and rounds of testing and then approval, etc before its used in humans.

yks 6nnetu hing
04-02-2015, 06:53 AM
Just because someone thought it worked in humans 1000 years ago doesnt mean it actually did. Thus, there will be rounds and rounds of testing and then approval, etc before its used in humans.

I don't think it's so much a case of potential side effects from the potion itself but rather perfecting the mass production of it and lengthening the expiration date on it without losing any of the potency or adding side effects.

I mean, I'm sensitive to garlic in raw and cooked form, I get the most disgusting gas from it (TMI, I know); but garlic is not poisonous or anything - to most people, anyways. Besides, the thing is meant to be used topically rather than ingested, so...

btw, another well known anti-inflammatory folk medicine recipe is to mash raw garlic as fine as possible, mix with honey (or, even better, propolis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propolis) and honey) and apply to the location. The honey and garlic are both antibacterial; with an added benefit of the honey sealing the wound from other contaminants and restricting the oxygen supply.

Davian93
04-02-2015, 07:23 AM
The Wisdom in my village disagrees with the efficiacy of using a finely mashed garlic in that poultice. She says it needs to be finely minced, not mashed to get the full effect.

Quick, what herbs would you use to deal with eye pain!?!

yks 6nnetu hing
04-02-2015, 07:51 AM
The Wisdom in my village disagrees with the efficiacy of using a finely mashed garlic in that poultice. She says it needs to be finely minced, not mashed to get the full effect.

Quick, what herbs would you use to deal with eye pain!?!

chamomile

ETA: and the properties of garlic are enhanced, the finer it is. So chopped simply won't do. ground it to a paste, as fine as possible.

Davian93
04-02-2015, 09:30 AM
chamomile

ETA: and the properties of garlic are enhanced, the finer it is. So chopped simply won't do. ground it to a paste, as fine as possible.

No, no, it needs to be minced finely and then squeezed with the side of the blade to release its essence.

Nazbaque
04-02-2015, 09:56 AM
I guess the only thing that's a bit difficult to obtain would be the bile, but I'm sure there are modern equivalents for it that don't require killing loads of cows.

Wouldn't making the cows puke be a more efficient method?

GonzoTheGreat
04-02-2015, 10:36 AM
Wouldn't making the cows puke be a more efficient method?
Are you saying we've been doing it wrong for the last thousand years?

Davian93
04-02-2015, 11:01 AM
Wouldn't making the cows puke be a more efficient method?

Yeah but if you're killing millions of them anyway, it'd probably be more efficient to just add that to the harvest at the slaughterhouse...instead of it going into dogfood and school lunches.

GonzoTheGreat
04-02-2015, 11:17 AM
Yeah but if you're killing millions of them anyway, it'd probably be more efficient to just add that to the harvest at the slaughterhouse...instead of it going into dogfood and school lunches.
Oh, I dunno. Somehow I have the impression that the Republicans would object a whole lot less to the existence of government supplied school lunches if they contained cow puke. Maybe I'm too cynical, though.

Nazbaque
04-02-2015, 01:20 PM
Yeah but if you're killing millions of them anyway, it'd probably be more efficient to just add that to the harvest at the slaughterhouse...instead of it going into dogfood and school lunches.

There are a lot of variables involved here.

1) How much harder does the slaughter process get? Not much as I'd assume they wouldn't want the bile getting into the meat anyway.

2) How much bile do you get from a slaughtered cow? As they are starved for a day or two before slaughter in order to avoid undigested food from ruining the meat, this might not be all that much.

3) How unhealthy is it to make a cow puke? The process could easily be seen as unnecessary cruelty to animals, but if this is for example a part of a rutine medical examination why not collect.

4) How would the process affect milk or meat in the long term? The answer to this question could support either side of the argument very strongly. If the products actually improve, it's a win-win situation (I can't believe I wrote that about obtaining cow bile). Likewise if quality drops it should be limited to animals that aren't milked or up for slaughter.

5) What are the effects on a stud bull? You need to keep some around anyway so why not put them to more use.

Davian93
04-02-2015, 03:32 PM
People whine about force feeding/fattening geese & ducks for foie gras. Maybe geese are cuter than cows though so it'll be okay and a non-issue for that group.

Forcing cows to puke has to be up there with shoving a tube down a duck's gullet and jamming it full of feed.

Nazbaque
04-02-2015, 06:29 PM
People whine about force feeding/fattening geese & ducks for foie gras. Maybe geese are cuter than cows though so it'll be okay and a non-issue for that group.

Forcing cows to puke has to be up there with shoving a tube down a duck's gullet and jamming it full of feed.

Oh you'll always find people who complain about that kind of stuff. Sometimes I wonder what their faces look like when they realize that the ingredients of a salad are eaten alive.