Friday, August 8, 2008

Leeches clear a blocked carotid stent?

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that a Mehdi Jaffari (at left here) managed to clear his 80%-blocked carotid artery by self-treatment with an Australian medicinal leech, Richardsonianus australis. Mr. Jaffari had had 4 heart attacks last year, and had a stent put in his carotid, only to be told in January that he had "advanced cardiovascular damage, with his left carotid artery almost 80 per cent blocked". Five days of leech therapy and the next angiogram showed it cleared. Hmm. Regardless of the veracity of the (as yet unrepeated) claim, the article contains an untruth: "while hirudin was known to dissolve blood clots, it was not known to dissolve plaque". In fact, hirudin only prevents clots. It does not dissolve them.

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