It’s been a while since we’ve heard from our friendly blood-sucking medgadget, the leech. Armed with its mysterious powers, the leech has a place in technological jumble of modern medicine. We missed the little guy, so we decided to dig up a little research and found some interesting info on treatment for osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis of the knee is a painful inflammatory disease that can severely limit a patient’s mobility. Leeches to the rescue! Here’s an excerpt from a study in the Annals of Internal Medicine:
…4 to 6 medicinal leeches (Hirudo medicinalis, ZAUG GmbH, Biebertal, Germany) were applied once to the periarticular soft tissue of the affected knee, with preference to maximally painful points during examination and palpation. Leeches were left in place until they detached by themselves, after a mean of 70 minutes. The patient’s knee was then bandaged, and the patient was cautioned not to be physically active for the next 12 hours. The patient returned the next day (study day 1) for a change of dressing and a repeated blood count. Control group patients were given 300 g of diclofenac gel (diclofenac-natrium 10 mg- 1 g gel, Pharmacia, Erlangen, Germany), and the proper use was demonstrated. Patients were instructed to apply the gel at least twice daily for days 0 through 28 and to discontinue application thereafter. Adherence to diclofenac gel treatment was assessed from the diaries and crosschecked by counting used gel tubes and interviewing the patients.
…In summary, traditional leech therapy seems to be an effective symptomatic treatment for osteoarthritis of the knee.
If only other blood-sucking monsters could be so useful… Yeah, I’m talking to you mosquitoes!
Read the article here…