Well, the good news is that spring is in the air. The bad news is that pollen is too.
If you suffer from seasonal allergies like me, you know what a drag they can be. Instead of spending your spring smelling the roses, you spend it sifting through a medicine cabinet full of nasty nasal sprays and Continue reading →
Health secrets reign in the land of Traditional Chinese Medicine, an amazing path to healing. At its root is the concept of Tao. What does this mean to you, and how can you keep a diet like a Taoist? Read on!
Aside from its likeness to our notion of karma, Taoism is like being at one with nature. Its essence, Continue reading →
Rheumatoid arthritis is a form of joint pain caused by a faulty immune system. As such, it is difficult to control. In the absence of the ability to cure it, patients strive to find ways to limit the pain. So here are your seven best bets from Traditional Chinese Medicine. Continue reading →
Black cumin seeds (Nigella sativa) have long been used as a powerful remedy against major illnesses in nearly every major medical tradition…from Ayurveda to Chinese herbalism to ancient Egyptian and Greek medicine. Continue reading →
LONDON – An autopsy that started in 1825 has finally reached a conclusion, determining that the cause of the death of an ancient Egyptian mummy was tuberculosis.
The mummy, of a woman named ‘Irtyersenu’, who died in Thebes around 600 BC, aged about 50, was discovered by DrAugustusGranville in 1825.
It was the first mummy to be subjected to a scientific autopsy, and Granville concluded that she died of ovarian cancer.
But around 20 years ago, the remains of the mummy were rediscovered and subjected to new tests.
These suggested that the ovarian tumor was benign, and that the mummy also had malaria and signs of inflammation in the lungs, which could have been caused by pneumonia or tuberculosis.
The mystery has been particularly difficult to resolve because of the way the body was mummified.
In standard mummification, organs were either removed and preserved independently, or a chemical enema was inserted into the anus to dissolve the organs in situ.
In contrast, the mummy of Irtyersenu contains organs, but the whole body seems to be coated in a mysterious waxy substance.
“The material is exceedingly difficult to work with,” said HelenDonoghue of University College London, who led the current analysis of the mummy.
“It is soft and brown, and when you try to extract anything there’s an oily substance there that interferes with molecular analysis,” she said.
This had made it near impossible to extract DNA from the mummy until now.
But, according to a report in New Scientist, when Donoghue and colleagues from the University of Birmingham, UK, combined DNA amplification with a recently developed technique to search for a short repetitive section of DNA from Mycobacterium tuberculosis, they identified the organism in tissue from the lungs, bone and gall bladder.
They also found biomarkers specific to the cell wall of the bacterium in the lungs and bones.
“Together, these results suggest that TB infection had spread from her lungs to the rest of her body – so-called disseminated TB. In ancient Egypt, this would have been fatal,” said Donoghue.
The team found no further evidence of malaria, and the test that originally detected it has since been withdrawn as it can sometimes cross-react with other substances.
PARIS – When PhineasGage’s skull got badly pierced in a railroad accident in 1848, many, including surgeons, had enough of evidence that his end was near. But Gage survived and lived happily thereafter. Was it an accidental case of trepanation? Trepanation could be called as a crude form of surgery, which involves drilling holes into the skull for the sake of cranial correction or treatment.
This was an ancient practice; and if medical history is anything to go by, it worked well without high risk factors involved. Trepanation has now given way to cranial surgery, which, on account of high precision involved, remains to be a highly specialized job of highly specialized people. Evidence again states that most of the surgical techniques that we call as modern now actually owe their roots to the ancient times.
According to archaeologists who have found skulls with carefully carved, man-made holes in them, the art of cranial surgery was practiced up to 5,000 years ago in Europe, and until a few centuries ago on many other continents. “Evidence of healing and bony scar tissue around the holes shows that many of these people lived long lives after going under the knife,” says Willow Lawson, a researcher.
“If you cut a hole in someoneís head, as it heals, the edges smooth out,” says JohnVerano, an archaeologist at Tulane University who is writing a book on the surgery. “A spongy kind of bone will grow between the gaps.”
Archaeologists think most of these ancient operations were performed to treat individuals who had suffered massive head trauma, most likely in combat. Early surgeons probably performed trepanation to remove splinters of skull bone and relieve pressure from blood clots that formed when blood vessels were broken. It was surgery at work in ancient times.
Ancient Nose Job
Other, so to say, non-invasive techniques were used for beautification than healing purposes. For example, correction of nose, which we call as rhinoplasty now, was practiced in the Ayurvedic era some 5000 years back. So was plastic surgery, which was normally employed in instances of battle wounds or animal attacks.
“Although Egyptians performed plastic surgery as early as 3400 B.C., but it was actually in India, sometime between the sixth century B.C. and the sixth century A.D. when the ancient Ayurvedic compendium Susruta Samhita was written, that the skill evolved.” says Thomas V. DiBacco, a historian at American University.