Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Fleming

Good Old Days: Let’s Review (Part 2, February 18, 2009)

Alexander Fleming published his discovery of penicillin in 1928 and with the aid of Chain and Florey antibiotic was born effectively in 1940. In 1942, enough amount of penicillin was produced to treat 170 injured English soldiers in Africa.

At the end of the war, 300,000 British soldiers were given priority to penicillin treatments, among them 100,000 cases of syphilis and 200,000 of gonorrhea Nietzsche died of syphilis in 1900; he suffered the agony of syphilis progression and devastations for over 34 years. Anyone still longs for the Good Old Days before penicillin?

Suppose these millions of returning soldiers were not treated with penicillin, how many generations of afflicted “crazies” would be running amuck among us? Millions upon millions of civilians were not treated with penicillin because there was not enough in production and millions of new-born “crazies” were afflicted with just this single disease.

The British know how to be first in recycling everything.  In 1847, Victor Hugo wrote “The British dailies state that several millions of human and horse bones were shipped to Hull. These bones were retrieved from the battle fields during the Napoleonic wars. The bones were transported to Yorkshire and grinde into powder and then sent to Duncaster as fertilizer and feed for cows”

A decade later, the first symptoms of “mad cow” were observed in Duncaster and lasted till recently. Only three decades ago did Creutzfeldt and Jacob discover the link between the “mad cow” disease (MCJ) and what the cows were offered to eat. Cows are supposed to eat grass and not the bones and flesh of the dead and dying sheep grinde in powder as feed! Worst, people were contracting a variant of the MCJ disease by eating cow meat.

The biochemist Stanley Prusiner discovered in 1982 that the variant of MCJ in human called “prion” (an acronym) is a protein mutation and not a virus, or bacteria, or a parasite. For an entire decade, Prusiner had to suffer the sarcasm of the medical profession before they came around and gave this protein mutated transmissible agent the label of Non Conventional Transmissible Agent (NCTA).

The MCJ disease was found among a primitive tribe in New Guinea in 1957; the sickness was called Kuru or “The laughing dead” because the terminally ill individual had no control over laughter and died of hunger for failure to swallow.

Adult women accounted for 66% of the afflicted because they were left to eat the innards of dead cadavers after the men had eaten the muscles. Anyone to board a time machine back to primitive New Guinea?

Note: Most of these accounts are extracted from “Amorous Dictionary of Medicine” by the surgeon Bernard Debre.


adonis49

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