World Journal of Surgery

, Volume 24, Issue 7, pp 878–883

The Leech and the Physician: Biology, Etymology, and Medical Practice with Hirudinea medicinalis

Authors

  • Robert N. Mory
    • International Institute, College of Literature Science and Arts, The University of Michigan, 1500 East Medical Center Drive, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-0330, USA
  • David Mindell
    • Department of Biology, Museum of Zoology, The University of Michigan, 1109 Geddes Avenue, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1079, USA
  • David A. Bloom
    • Department of Surgery, School of Medicine, The University of Michigan, 1500 East Medical Center Drive, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-0330, USA
Article

DOI: 10.1007/s002680010141

Cite this article as:
Mory, R., Mindell, D. & Bloom, D. World J. Surg. (2000) 24: 878. doi:10.1007/s002680010141

Abstract.

The history of the word “leech” and the practice of leeching reveal interconnected social histories. We give the linguistic and medical histories of the word, and explore its biology and clinical history. Our historical account extends from the earliest known record of leeching to current research. Despite historical variation in its reputation as a therapeutic technique, leeching remains useful today in a number of applications. Further investigation may well disclose even more uses for the leech, particularly for its enzymes with anesthetic, anticoagulant, and antimetastatic properties.

Copyright information

© by Société Internionale de Chirurgie 2000