How a 14th Century Manuscript Could Solve our Antibiotic Crisis - RiseEarth

How a 14th Century Manuscript Could Solve our Antibiotic Crisis


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by TreeHugger; Care2

Researchers are poring over an important medieval medical text with 360 recipes, many of which might have successfully fought infection long before modern science.

Antibiotic resistance and the dawn of superbugs give rise to all kinds of horror movie scenarios. At this point, an estimated 700,000 people die each year from drug-resistant infections. And with the discovery of new antibiotics sluggish at best, by 2050 some 10 million people could die annually without some kind of breakthrough.

And with that in mind, some experts, instead of looking into the future of medicine, are looking into the past.


From the “everything old is new again” file, an international team of medievalists, microbiologists, medicinal chemists, parasitologists, pharmacists and data scientists believe that answers to the antibiotic crisis could potentially be found in medical history. And we’re talking bona fide history, like, 700-years-ago history.

Erin Connelly, the CLIR-Mellon Fellow for Data Curation in Medieval Studies at University of Pennsylvania, is part of the “Ancientbiotics team” and writes in The Conversation, “with the aid of modern technologies, we hope to unravel how premodern physicians treated infection and whether their cures really worked.”

What we already know is that the great medical minds in history had a lot figured out without the advantages of modern medicine. The Ancientbiotics team conducted one fascinating study in which a 10th century cure for a stye – an eyesalve from the wonderful Bald’s Leechbook – was recreated and to the surprise of all, found to kill 90 percent of the dreadful antibiotic-resistant methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus – otherwise known as the hospital superbug MRSA. The mixture of odd ingredients stewed in a brass vessel for nine days had the same efficacy as vancomycin, the antibiotic that is used for MRSA.

Meanwhile, chemist Tu Youyou won a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for a novel malaria therapy inspired by ancient Chinese literature on herbal medicine.

Now the team has their sights set on the Lylye of Medicynes, which Connelly explains is a 15th-century Middle English translation of the Latin Lilium medicinae, a significant work from 1305 written by an important medieval physician named Bernard of Gordon. The Lilium medicinae was a go-to medical text up until the 17th century.

Connelly has been working on the Lylye of Medicynes with incredible attention to detail. With its 360 recipes and thousands of ingredients, she has copied the text and given it a modern edit to end up with 600 pages of word-processed text. Furthermore, she writes:

I loaded the Middle English names of ingredients into a database, along with translations into modern equivalents, juxtaposed with relationships to recipe and disease. It is very time-consuming to format medieval data for processing with modern technologies. It also takes time to translate medieval medical ingredients into modern equivalents, due in part to multiple synonyms as well as variations in modern scientific nomenclature for plants. This information has to be verified across many sources.

And now they have a database to find mixes of ingredients and methods that are mentioned repeatedly to treat infectious diseases. The hope is that the database will reveal new recipes and ingredients to test and analyze in an endeavor to create innovative antibiotics efficient enough to fight the bacteria we’re currently doing battle with. (And in the meantime, adjusting our approach to how we use antibiotics in the first place could go a long way in helping the problem, see Sweden.)

Connelly concludes that, “It could also deepen our understanding of how medieval practitioners ‘designed’ recipes. Our research is in the beginning stages, but it holds exciting potential for the future.” And if the eyesalve from Bald’s Leechbook is any indication, medieval medicine could have a life-saving renaissance.

Written by Melissa Breyer. Published with permission from Treehugger.
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1 comments:

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    Assalamualaikum Pengakuan tulus dari saya sendiri IBU SRI MUSDALIFHA, Saya Sengaja ingin menulis
    sedikit kesaksian untuk berbagi, barangkali ada teman-teman yang sedang
    kesulitan masalah keuangan, Awal mula saya mengamalkan Pesugihan Tanpa
    Tumbal karena usaha saya bangkrut dan saya menanggung hutang sebesar
    785,juta saya hampir mau bunuh diri tidak tau harus bagaimana agar bisa
    melunasi hutang saya, saya coba buka-buka internet dan saya bertemu
    dengan AKI SOLEH , awalnya saya ragu dan tidak percaya tapi selama 1 hari
    saya berpikir,akhirnya saya bergabung dan menghubungi AKI SOLEH
    kata Pak.AKI pesugihan yang cocok untuk saya adalah pesugihan tuyul saya hanya cuma ngonterak 7 bulan dan akhirnya hutang-hutang saya pun suda terlunasi, Semua petunjuk saya ikuti
    dan hanya 1 hari Astagfirullahallazim, Alhamdulilah akhirnya 15 MILLYAR yang saya
    minta benar benar ada di tangan saya semua hutang saya lunas dan sisanya
    buat modal usaha. sekarang rumah sudah punya dan mobil pun sudah ada.
    Maka dari itu, setiap kali ada teman saya yang mengeluhkan nasibnya, saya
    sering menyarankan untuk menghubungi AKI SOLEH Di Tlp 082-313-336-747
    agar di
    berikan arahan. Supaya tidak langsung datang ke jawa timur, saya sendiri dulu
    hanya berkonsultasi jarak jauh. Alhamdulillah, hasilnya sangat baik, jika anda ingin seperti
    saya hubungi AKI SOLEH pasti akan di bantu Oleh Beliau Seperti saya wassalam

    Atau Kunjungi Situs AKI KLIK DISINI ( PESUGIHAN DUKUN SAKTI TERPERCAYA )


    INILAH JENIS MACAM PESUGIHAN DAN BOCORAN TOGEL 2D 3D 4D 5D 6D


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