Douglas Starr, in Blood, quotes the British Secretary of War, asked in 1937 what the nation proposed to do about a mass blood supply. The secretary was dismissive. Blood could not be stored for long or in great quantities, he said. On the hoof was better. “It was more satisfactory to store our blood in our people.” Janet Vaughan did not agree, and Janet Vaughan did something about it. Her medical director gave her £100, and she sent off her assistants in taxis to find all the tubing that London shops could provide.Longreads profiles Janet Vaughan, a British scientist who found better treatments for anemia than arsenic using herself as a test subject, was a major force in creating London's first blood banks using cheap tubing and ice cream trucks, studied emergency nutrition in a post-liberation concentration Nazi death camp, and continued active research into blood and radiation into her eighties, while occasionally serving as a model for Virginia Woolf characters.
Educationally bizarre: Current events, medicine, animals, forensics, oddities, teeth, eyes, deformities, funerals, cemeteries, blood, albinism and such ........ It's The Soul is Bone. Not necessarily disturbing, but not necessarily not disturbing. Not necessarily NSFW, but not necessarily not NSFW.
Simple new invention seals gunshot wounds in 15 seconds. (SLPopSci)
The Academic Ob/Gyn: Taking Care of the Dying Jehovah’s Witness. The comments are good too.
Researchers have apparently found a way to prevent HIV from damaging the immune system. Johns Hopkins and Imperial reseachers have developed a chemical that breaks down the cholesterol membrane around HIV. This stops the virus intererfering with immune response, and may allow a vaccine that prevents infection. [more inside]
Are the Rules That Determine Who Can Donate Blood Discriminatory? Canadian AIDS researchers Dr. Mark Wainberg and Dr. Norbert Gilmore say that while the ban on blood donation from men who have sex with other men may have been ethically and scientifically justified in the 1980's, it no longer makes sense. (CMAJ.) Even though the US FDA reaffirmed their long-standing ban in 2007, they plan to revisit the policy in June. [more inside]
The blood substitute PolyHeme has been previously discussed on MetaFilter, but new evidence shows that PolyHeme actually raises the chances of death by nearly 30%. PolyHeme was notable mostly for the reaction to its clinical trials, which, controversially, did not require patient consent.
Scientists have discovered that "endometrial regenerative cells" (ERC's) -- in other words, human menstrual blood -- contains stem cells. ERC-derived stem cells seem to have a number of superior traits to both bone marrow derived and umbilical cord derived stem cells, the previous gold standards: they can give rise to a variety of different cell lines without differentiation, they multiply more quickly than other stem cells, they are able to replicate more times without adversely mutating, and they apparently do not need to be closely genetically matched to the recipient. Now some women have even begun banking their menstrual blood to preserve their stem cells through a company called "C'Elle: Your Monthly Miracle" -- check out their FAQ and online video. This follows last May's announcement that menstrual blood derived cells can pretty much cure Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy in mice, a disease for which there is no current therapeutic treatment available.
Society has been using leeches among other things for bloodletting in order to treat diseases for thousands of years. In fact, the word leech may derive from the olde english word for physician. Leech treatment peaked in the early 1800's and then waned. But it's become fashionable again in recent times. FDA approval was given last year allowing leeches to be raised for medicinal use. So there's no need to be scared of them anymore. You can buy them in bulk for about $7 a
suck pop and have them delivered in their own leech mobile home. Consider also replacing your viagra and massage oil.
Welcome to self-policing corporate responsibility. A division of the pharmaceutical company Bayer (Expertise with responsibility) sold millions of dollars of blood-clotting medicine for hemophiliacs - medicine that carried a high risk of transmitting AIDS - to Asia and Latin America in the mid-1980s while selling a new, safer product in the West.