health, medicine

Ancient Egyptian medicine

Ancient Egyptian Medicine refers to the practices of healing  common illnesses in Ancient Egypt from c. 33rd century BC  until the Persian invasion of 525 BC. This medicine was highly advanced for the time, and included simple, non-invasive surgery, setting of bones and an extensive set of pharmacopoeia. While ancient Egyptian remedies are often characterized in modern culture by magical incantations and dubious ingredients, research in biomedical Egyptology shows they were often effective and sixty-seven percent of the known formulae complied with the 1973 British Pharmaceutical Codex. Medical texts specified specific steps of examination, diagnosis, prognosis and treatments that were often rational and appropriate.

Until the 19th century, the main sources of information about ancient Egyptian medicine were writings from later in antiquity. Homer c. 800 BC remarked in the Odyssey: “In Egypt, the men are more skilled in medicine than any of human kind” and “the Egyptians were skilled in medicine more than any other art”. The Greek historian Herodotus  visited Egypt around 440 BC and wrote extensively of his observations of their medicinal practices. Pliny the Elder also wrote favorably of them in historical review. Hippocrates (the “father of medicine”), Herophilos, Erasistratus and later Galen studied at the temple of Amenhotep, and acknowledged the contribution of ancient Egyptian medicine to Greek medicine.

In 1822, the translation of the Rosetta stone finally allowed the translation of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic inscriptions and papyri, including many related to medical matters. The resultant interest in Egyptology in the 19th century led to the discovery of several sets of extensive ancient medical documents, including the Ebers papyrus, the Edwin Smith Papyrus, the Hearst Papyrus and others dating back as far as 3000 BC. The Edwin Smith Papyrus is a textbook on surgery and details anatomical observations and the “examination, diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis” of numerous ailments. It was probably written around 1600 BC, but is regarded as a copy of several earlier texts. Medical information in it dates from as early as 3000 BC. Imhotep in the 3rd dynasty is credited as the original author of the papyrus text, and founder of ancient Egyptian medicine. The earliest known surgery was performed in Egypt around 2750 BC.

The Ebers papyrus c. 1550 BC is full of incantations and foul applications meant to turn away disease-causing demons, and also includes 877 prescriptions. It may also contain the earliest documented awareness of tumors, if the poorly understood ancient medical terminology has been correctly interpreted. Other information comes from the images that often adorn the walls of Egyptian tombs and the translation of the accompanying inscriptions. Advances in modern medical technology also contributed to the understanding of ancient Egyptian medicine. Paleopathologists were able to use X-Rays and later CAT Scans to view the bones and organs of mummies. Electron microscopes, mass spectrometry and various forensic techniques allowed scientists unique glimpses of the state of health in Egypt 4000 years ago.

Other documents as the Edwin Smith papyrus (1550 BC), Hearst papyrus (1450 BC), and Berlin papyrus (1200 …

health

Bdnf Prevents and Reverses Alzheimer’s Disease

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, have provided ground-breaking proof that a natural protein called BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) can prevent and treat Alzheimer’s. The study was carried out in a variety of animal models including mice, rats, and monkeys.

“The effects of BDNF were potent,” said Mark Tuszynski, MD, PhD, lead researcher. “When we administered BDNF to memory circuits in the brain, we directly stimulated their activity and prevented cell death from the underlying disease.”

The researchers reported that “In each case, when compared with control groups not treated with BDNF, the treated animals demonstrated significant improvement in the performance of a variety of learning and memory tests. Notably, the brains of the treated animals also exhibited restored BDNF gene expression, enhanced cell size, improved cell signaling, and activation of function in neurons that would otherwise have degenerated, compared to untreated animals. These benefits extended to the degenerating hippocampus where short-term memory is processed, one of the first regions of the brain to suffer damage in Alzheimer’s disease.”

As I recently reported in my article, Top 10 Health Breakthroughs of 2008, BDNF may well be the molecule of the year, as BDNF is key to keeping your nerve cells alive and stimulating the growth of new nerve cells. Since your nerve cells are important for regulating everything else, keeping them in top working condition not only means that your mind will stay sharp it means you are likely to live longer and healthier. This new study adds significantly to the power of BDNF because it was able to prevent and reverse Alzheimer’s independent of the amyloid plaque tangles.

The great news is that BDNF levels can be naturally boosted. Aerobic exercise boosts BDNF. The most important nutrient that helps is pantethine, providing the needed basic compound (cysteamine) that nerve cells need in order to make BDNF. Nutrients that also help make BDNF or protect it from declining are acetyl-l-carnitine, fish oil, blueberries, and curcumin.

This gives a solid two-pronged natural approach to preserving your nerves. On the one hand, you can boost BDNF. On the other hand, other new research has shown that grape seed extracts will prevent amyloid plaque tangles from forming in the first place.

It is very important to understand that adverse changes within the brain that eventually result in disease are progressively happening during the aging process. Older adults with sharp memory and cognitive function have far less brain wear and tear than “normal” aging adults who are loosing function and heading in the direction of more serious cognitive decline and potential Alzheimer’s. And now it is rather sad to report that Alzheimer’s is beginning to happen to adults in their 40s, as individuals burn out their nerves at ever younger ages.

BDNF is the closet thing to the fountain of youth yet discovered.…