The respiratory effects of the volatile oil of the black seed (Nigella sativa) in
guinea-pigs: elucidation of the mechanism(s) of action.
el Tahir KE, Ashour MM, al-Harbi MM.
Gen Pharmacol 1993;:1115-22
1. The effect of the volatile oil (VO) of the black seed (Nigella sativa) on the
respiratory system of the urethane- anaesthetized guinea-pig was investigated and compared
with those of its constituent thymoquinone (TQ). 2. Intravenous administration of VO in
the dose range (4-32 microliters kg-1) induced dose-dependent increases in the respiratory
rate and the intratracheal pressure. 3. The effects of VO were significantly antagonized
by treatment of the animals with mepyramine, atropine and reserpine. They were not
antagonized by indomethacin, diethyl carbamazine or hydrocortisone. 4. Intravenous
administration of TQ in the dose range ( 1.6-6.4 mg kg-1) induced significant increases in
the intratracheal pressure without any effect in the respiratory rate. 5. The results
suggested that VO-induced respiratory effects were mediated via release of histamine with
direct involvement of histaminergic mechanisms and indirect activation of muscarinic
cholinergic mechanisms. 6. Removal of TQ from VO may provide a potential centrally acting
The semantics of pain in Indian culture and medicine.
Cult Med Psychiatry 1991;:19-43
An interpretive perspective offers a counterpoint to the behavioral orientation in the
social scientific literature on pain. The present paper develops a meaning-centered
approach which focuses on three interconnected aspects of the experience of suffering: (1)
the cultural construction of pain sensation; (2) the semiotics of pain expression; (3) the
structure of pain's causes and cures. These connections are explored through a variety of
linguistic and semiotic forms, including metaphors, etymologies, gestural codes,
taxonomies, and semantic networks. The study of metaphor has special value in revealing
the cultural construction of pain, especially its sensory qualities, such as temperature,
weight, and movement. The concept of semantic network provides a complementary tool for
understanding pain experience; the analysis makes pain sensation the center of the network
and argues that multiple meanings attach to this sensory core. The paper examines these
perspectives in the context of North Indian culture and medicine, specifically Unani Tibb,
or Greco-Arab medicine. Pursuing questions of the "fit" between everyday belief
and traditional medicine, the essay traces continuities in the "language of
pain" in North Indian culture, classical Unani Tibb, and contemporary Unani clinical
The sexological chapters in the Canon Medicinae of Avicenna compared with the work de
coitu of Maimonides
Asthet Med (Berl) 1967 Oct 20; ;:305-8
The traditional system on medicine in Sri Lanka.
J Ethnopharmacol 1980;:71-3
Four systems of traditional medicine have been adopted in Sri Lanka: Ayurveda, Siddha,
Unani and Deshiya Chikitsa. The Ayurveda and Deshiya Chikitsa systems use mainly plant and
herbal preparations for the treatment of diseases-- the former uses about 2000 species,
the latter about 500. The plants are used singly or as mixtures. The traditional systems
of medicine have a vast literature, mainly in the form of manuscripts. The principle of
the Ayurvedic system is to consider the body as a whole, ailments of different organs not
being treated separately as in modern medicine. Similarly, Ayurveda takes into account the
actions of the drug in its entirety. Research therefore must be carried out in hospitals
or biological laboratories and not in chemical laboratories where plant extracts are
subject inevitably to chemical reactions. Therefore the chemical approach to identify
active principles is a complete deviation from the principles of traditional medicine.
Research on plants should be carried out for the further development of traditional
systems of medicine and not to their detriment. The threat of extinction of certain
species of plants and herbs is stressed, the causes being the destruction of jungles, the
greater demand for raw materials for increased manufacture of traditional medicinal
preparations, the absence of organised cultivation of medicinal plants, and unscientific
harvesting. The compilation of encyclopaedias of plants used in traditional medicine is
highly recommended for every country interested in preserving the traditional systems of
The Unani medicine, traditional therapeutics in India
Med Monatsschr 1977;:29-32
The Unani traditional medical system in India: a case study in health behaviour.
Geogr Med 1989;:163-85
The study examines the practice of Unani traditional medicine in India. The case study is
based on the Unani Clinic situated in Aligarh Town; patients, practitioner of Unani
medicine, and para-medical staff were interviewed about their patterns of patients' health
behaviour, of particular interest was the utilization of Unani medical facilities by
people of different age groups and belonging to different socio-economic strata.
Observations are made regarding effectiveness of the Unani medical system.
Thousandth anniversary of the birth of Abu Ali Ibn-Sina (980-1037)
Zh Nevropatol Psikhiatr 1980;:1221-8
Too much success for Avicenna?
Med Welt 1981;:62-3
Topics of hepatology in the "Canon of Medical Science" of Ibn-Sina
Sov Zdravookhr 1980;:67-9
Traditional medicine in health care.
J Ethnopharmacol 1980;:19-22
The state of research on plants used in traditional medicine and its development in Egypt
is indicated by the number of scientific institutions devoted to this problem:
Universities, the National Research Centre, the Desert Institute and the Horticulture
Department of the Ministry of Agriculture. Moreover, the use of certain medicinal plants
has been "industrialised', e.g., Ammi visnaga, Cymbopogon proximus, Nigella sativa
and Aloe vera. Other plants are under investigation: Urginea maritima, Phytolacca
americana and Euphorbia sp. (known for its claimed antitumor properties), Glycyrrhiza
glabra, Cynara scolymus and Solanum laciniatum.
Traditional methods used for controlling animal diseases in Iran.
Rev Sci Tech 1994;:599-614
In ancient times in Iran, infectious diseases of animals and human beings were referred to
as choleraic diseases. Rhazes (9th century), followed by Avicenna (10th century) , Jorjani
(11th century) and others, had specific opinions on the cause and effect relationship in
these diseases, which recall the fermentation theory of Louis Pasteur. In ancient Iran,
the methods adopted for veterinary procedures were those of general theoretical and
practical medicine, including the humoral theory, accurate diagnosis, signs and symptoms,
and the prescription of herbal and mineral medicines or substances of animal origin. If
herbal treatment failed, cauterisation and surgery were used. When refractory and
contagious infectious diseases occurred, animals were evacuated from the infected region,
in order to preserve their health, with resort to the mercy of Allah (God) as a final
remedy. Iranian scientists of ancient times had interesting views on rabies. A kind of
serotherapy was used for treating persons bitten by rabid dogs. Vaccination was performed
many centuries ago by using dried smallpox lesions. In Baluchistan (Iran), infants were
encouraged to play with and touch the teats of cows affected with cowpox, in order to
immunise the children against smallpox, and this was centuries before the discovery of
smallpox vaccine by Edward Jenner. Camelpox was also used for human immunisation. In the
case of caprine pleuropneumonia, an extract or juice was obtained from the lungs of
affected animals and was inactivated by treatment with certain herbal medicines which had
a disinfectant effect. A thread coated with this extract was passed through the ear of
healthy goats to render them immune. The author lists various diseases and their
treatment. This work forms part of detailed research by the author with reference to some
2,200 books and many ancient manuscripts on the history of veterinary science in Iran.
Treatment of mental disorders in India.
Bagadia VN, Shah LP, Pradhan PV, Gada MT.
Prog Neuropsychopharmacol 1979;:109-18
1. Mental health gets a low priority all over the world but much more so in developing
countries. 2. In India, modern psychiatric facilities are available only in the cities.
Mental hospitals are becoming modernized but the backbone of psychiatry is the psychiatric
department in the General Hospital where treatment is out-patient and family based except
short admissions for crisis intervention. 3. Psychotropic drugs are preferred both by
psychiatrists and patients, next being electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and other physical
treatments followed by psychotherapies. 4. In view of paucity of facilities, 80% of the
population has to depend on indigenous treatments consisting of Ayurvedic and Unani
systems of medicine, religious treatments consisting of prayers, fasting, etc. and various
witchcraft and magical rituals.
Treatment of traumatic injuries in the works of Ibn-Sina (Avicenna) (on the millennium of
the birth of Abu Ali Ibn- Sina)
Feldsher Akush 1980;:47-8
Tribute to Avicenna: one thousand years of the art of preserving health.
J Kans Med Soc 1981;:359-60
Unani Joshandah drugs for common cold, catarrh, cough and associated fevers.
J Ethnopharmacol 1986;:201-11
Joshandah, polypharmaceutic herbal preparations, are used in the form of a sweetened
decoction for the treatment of common cold, catarrh, cough and associated fevers in Unani
(Greco-Arab) medicine. The rationale of their therapeutic efficacy is discussed in the
light of reported chemico-pharmacological properties of the ingredients.
Am J Chin Med 1983;:166-7
Value of the principles of conducting scientific research and historical psychology in
historical and medical studies (various problems of the theory of history of medicine)
Sov Zdravookhr 1988;:66-70
Various problems of surgery in the works of Abu Ali Ibn Sina (on his 1000th birthday)
Omirov Riu, Mardanov LM.
Klin Khir 1980;:66-8
Venereal diseases in the papers of medieval Eastern scientists
Vestn Dermatol Venerol 1985;:59-61
Views of Abu Ali Ibn Sina (Avicenna) on tumorous diseases
Vopr Onkol 1980;:72-4
Views of Ibn Sina (Avicenna) on health
Gig Sanit 1991;:72-4
Vision and cognition in the natural philosophy of Albert the Great (Albertus Magnus).
Theiss P, Grüsser OJ.
Doc Ophthalmol 1994;:123-51
Albert the Great (Albertus Magnus, ca. 1197-1280) descended from a nobleman's family in
Upper Suebia and studied natural philosophy and theology at the University of Padova,
where he joined the Dominican order. Confronted with Aristotelian thought mainly in its
Arabic modification (Avicenna, Al- Farabi, Averroes, Alhazen, Costa ben Luca and others)
from his days in Padova, he elaborated in several books on the principles of natural
philosophy, biology, brain and sense functions and psychology in addition to his
theological and exegetic works. His observations and concepts on vision are discussed in
detail. It is pointed out that Albert discovered some phenomena of vision not before known
such as vestibular nystagmus and rod monochromacy, i.e. total colour blindness accompanied
by photophobia. Based on clinical observations Albert also postulated a decussation of the
optic nerve fibres at the optic chiasm. Albert's concept of higher order cognitive
function is discussed and some of his explanations of dreams and neuropsychiatric disease
on the basis of his cognitive model are mentioned. Albert' s thoughts on vision and other
sense perceptions, higher brain functions and cognition are considered as progressive
elaborations of Galenic concepts as adapted by some Patristic theologians and the Arabic
natural scientists and philosophers of the 9th-11th century.
MEDLINE Results Related to Humoral Theory
Mathematical model of antiviral immune response. III. Influenza A virus infection.
Bocharov GA, Romanyukha AA.
J Theor Biol 1994;:323-60.
We present an approach to studying theoretically the regularities and the kinetic
characteristics of influenza A virus (IAV) infection in man. The estimates of the
"numbers" (Zinkernagel et al., 1985) characterizing evolutionary established
interferon and immune responses in uncomplicated IAV infection are explored by developing
a multiparameter mathematical model which allows direct quantitative references to the
biological reality. The system of equations of the mathematical model of antiviral immune
response, applied earlier to acute hepatitis B virus infection (Marchuk et al., 1991a, b),
is modified and extended to describe the joint reaction of the interferon and immune
systems in IAV infection. Macrophages infiltrating the airway's epithelium are considered
to be the principal source of interferon that induces antiviral resistance in lung
epithelial cells. The model is formulated as a delay-differential system with about 60
parameters characterizing the rates of various processes contributing to the typical
course of IAV infection. The key aspect of the adjustment between the model and various
data on the immunity to influenza is the derivation of a consistent data set--the
generalized picture of uncomplicated IAV infection. It serves as a consistent theoretical
definition of the structure of the normal course of the infection and the antiviral immune
response suitable for model fitting. The parameter estimates for the processes considered
in the model are carefully discussed. The quantitative model is used to study the
organization and dynamic properties of the processes contributing to IAV infection. The
threshold condition for immune protection of virus-free host to infection with IAV is
analyzed. The relative roles of humoral, cellular and interferon reactions for the
kinetics of the uncomplicated IAV infection are studied. The contribution of parameters of
virus-sensitive tissue, interferon and IAV-specific immune processes to the variations of
duration and severity of the infection is quantitatively estimated by sensitivity studies.
It is shown that the variations in the parameters of a virus-epithelial cell system are
more influential on the severity of the infection rather than that of the antiviral immune
response. The need for fine co-ordination of the kinetics of the non-specific interferon
response and the adaptive antigen-specific immune reactions to provide recovery from the
infection is illustrated.
Hormones and the levels of humoral regulation
Al'oshyn BV, Hubs'kyi VI.
Fiziol Zh 1992;:100-8.
The problems on the place of hormones secreted by "classical" endocrine glands,
on their relationship with other compounds that possess physiological activity, criteria
that determine the definition "hormone" are considered in this article. The
conception about the levels of the humoral regulatory systems that are organized and
formed during phylogenesis and ontogenesis and provide a consecutive increase in their
complexity and mobility of adaptation to changes of environment and internal conditions
are substantiated on the basis of numerous data. The metabolites that are products of
nonspecific activity of any cell of the multicellular organism form the first and simplest
level of humoral regulatory organization. The next (second) level of humoral organization
is also formed by chemically simple substances. However, these substances are specialized
products of the secretory activity of cells and exert potent influence on the
physiological processes. Neuroamines and regulatory peptides are applied to these agents,
in the first place. They arise simultaneously and jointly at the first stage of
ontogenesis. The distinctive characters of the third level of the humoral regulation are
increased and complication of the regulatory activity conditioned by cooperative
influences of humoral agents produced by single secretory elements situated outside the
classical endocrine glands. The chemically and originally different substances causing
predominantly local effects are attributed to these physiologically active substances.
Their participation in general adaptive reactions as well as inclusion of classical
hormones into hierarchy of humoral regulation signify the formation of the forth
regulatory level that provides realization of general homeostatic reactions peculiar to
the whole organism. (ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).
Colors, humors and evil eye: indigenous classification and treatment of childhood diarrhea
in highland Guatemala.
Burleigh E, Dardano C, Cruz JR.
Med Anthropol 1990;:419-41.
Focal group interviews on indigenous perceptions and reported management of childhood
diarrhea were conducted in 1987- 88 in Guatemala as a part of a prospective
epidemiological field study of chronic diarrhea. Six cognitive schemata were identified,
each with specific causes, a linked progression of concepts, symptoms, signs, and
diagnostic characteristics. Nearly all were related to the humoral theory of disease,
including the concept of evil eye. Diarrheal disease was conceptualized in the village as
a set of processes which could be either "hot" or "cold" rather than
as an unchanging single-symptom entity occupying only one spot on the humoral continuum.
Clarification of the temporal relationship between concepts was found to be essential to
the understanding of these indigenously-defined schemata. Stool color reflecting humoral
theory was the primary concept used in household- level diagnosis. Reported behavior
associated with these cognitive schemata (traditional treatments, pharmaceutical and
dietary management) showed remarkable constancy, and adhered for the most part to the
humoral concept of equilibrium. These included the use of oral rehydration solutions (ORS)
and liquids. The applied importance of humoral theory to home-based use of ORS is
discussed briefly as is the indigenous definition of dehydration.
The neuro-immune network. Some recent developments.
Recenti Prog Med 1992;:93-9.
Neuroimmunomodulation encompasses, by definition, numerous components and activities
primarily derived from the immune system, and treats the immunoneuroendocrine
interconnections at different levels of the integrated whole functioning organism. The
arbitrary unit of the immunoneuroendocrine network is the immune microenvironment composed
of lymphocytes, neurons, endocrine cells, nonlymphoid accessory cells, humoral factors
from immune, nervous, endocrine and other tissues, receptors for endogenous and exogenous
ligands, pathways for transduction of biological signals, physiological ions, various
magnetic and electromagnetic compartments, and impulses from the higher nervous activity
(the mind, the psyche). The Neuroimmunomodulation is a marvelous mechanism from which
arises an amazing quantity of variables and intercommunications in the living organism.
Being a multidisciplinary science par excellence, Neuroimmunomodulation is strongly
antidogmatic and favors multidirectional organization of research. That means that actions
of the immune, nervous and endocrine systems should be studied together in terms of
intercommunications among identifiable structures and processes. Therefore, research
endeavors in Neuroimmunomodulation have different directions with seminal discoveries much
too numerous to list here. This mini-review is confined to some recent findings dealing
with the immunomodulatory activity of micromagnetic fields when applied to the brain, the
humoral and cell-mediated components of certain neurological and psychiatric diseases, the
autoimmune features in heroin addicts in relation to dementia and HIV infection, the
neuroimmunobiology of lithium cation, and the in vivo immune function of enkephalins, and
methionine-enkephalin in particular.
T cell responses to human malignant tumours.
Knuth A, Wölfel T, Meyer zum Büschenfelde KH.
Cancer Surv 1992;:39-52.
The immunological and molecular mechanisms that govern T cell responses to human malignant
tumours are just starting to be understood within a more complex framework of humoral,
cellular and molecular interactions. The definition of multiple antigens simultaneously
expressed on human melanoma, as detected with cytolytic T cells in immunoselection
experiments, is a first step towards the molecular characterization of these antigens.
Observations on the influence of expression of restriction elements of the major
histocompatibility complex on the recognition of these tumour associated antigens have
advanced our understanding of how the immune system responds to cancer cells in vivo. It
is specificity that is tuning the immune system, not only in cancer. The molecular
characterization of the first human cancer antigen recognized by CTL is now under way as
outlined by Boon et al in this issue.
The hepatitis B virus and the host response.
J Hepatol 1990;:S83-9.
The clearance of hepatitis B virus infected cells from the liver is probably dependent on
an interplay between the interferon system and the cellular limb of the host immune
response. Although the importance of the nucleocapsid proteins as targets for sensitized
cytotoxic T cells is established in chronic hepatitis B infection, further studies are
needed during the early phase of acute infection. The relative importance of pre-S
sequences as inducers and targets of the virus neutralizing humoral immune response is
becoming established but their precise place will await the development of in vitro models
of hepadna virus infection and precise definition of the mechanism of viral uptake. In
adult life, deficient production of alpha-interferon and suppression of the ability of the
host to respond to interferon are probably important factors underlying the development of
chronic infection. In the neonate, however, specific suppression of the cell-mediated
immune response may be involved. The presence of a mutation in the pre- core region of
some virus isolates has recently been described. Hepatocytes infected with this virus
cannot produce hepatitis B e antigen and the course of the liver disease is fairly rapid.
Whether this mutant causes liver damage in the same way as the wild virus or is directly
cytopathic needs further study. In adult-acquired chronic hepatitis B virus infection,
alpha-interferon produces hepatitis B e antigen clearance in 26-88% of cases and is
followed by resolution of the hepatic inflammation. Results in neonatally acquired
infection are less impressive and prednisolone priming followed by interferon may be
needed. (ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).
Immunological mechanisms in recurrent spontaneous abortion.
Hill JA, Anderson DJ.
Arch Immunol Ther Exp (Warsz) 1990;:111-9.
The acceptance and maintenance of pregnancy remains a biological mystery. The conceptus
expresses paternal and embryonic antigens that are foreign to its maternal host yet is not
always immunologically rejected. In this chapter we have presented a review of protective
immunologic mechanisms possibly responsible for the maintenance of pregnancy, as well as a
summary of current data suggesting immunologic mechanisms responsible for pregnancy
wastage. Major rapid advances in understanding immunoreproduction should occur over the
next several years due to major advances in the rapidly expanding field of immunology. It
is now possible to perform in depth studies of immunoregulatory mechanisms. Numerous
biochemical mediators of immunological responses have been defined and mass produced for
use in research. These mediators have enabled the definition of cellular and humoral
interactions within the immune system, and between the immune system and reproductive
tissues. Monoclonal antibodies have also been produced that identify many of these
mediators and leukocyte markers associated with immune function. It is now possible using
these new immunological reagents to probe the immune mechanisms and immunoregulatory
events responsible for the success and failure of reproduction. Systematic approaches
utilizing these techniques are and will continue to contribute significantly to a further
understanding of the immunological mechanisms involved in recurrent spontaneous abortion,
which is prerequisite for developing truly effective treatment modalities.
The birth of immunology. II. Metchnikoff and his critics.
Tauber AI, Chernyak L.
Cell Immunol 1989;:447-73.
The presentation of the phagocytic theory of immunity, proposed by Metchnikoff in 1883,
was immediately attacked by German pathologists and microbiologists. Led by Baumgarten and
Ziegler, criticism was levied against the hypothesis in three general respects: 1) Can an
analogy truly be established between leukocyte phagocytosis and feeding of monocellular
organisms? 2) What is compelling about the phagocytic process as a universal defensive
activity? 3) General philosophic objections were raised, centered upon the accusation of a
teleologic formulation. Underlying the argument was the rejection of the notion that the
response of phagocytic leukocytes was truly causal in the successful response to
infection. We note that the humoral school of immunity was not established until
1888-1890, and the early debate between Metchnikoff and his detractors was not over an
alternative theory of an active immune response. There was none. With the development of
the humoralist position, in direct response to Metchnikoff's formulation, a true dialogue
about immunity, in the modern context of active host response, was initiated. The debate
at this point changed to issues of mechanism (cellular versus humoral effectors), and the
relative importance of defining innate versus acquired immune processes. Our study traces
the scientific and logical basis of the initial rejection of the phagocytosis theory. More
broadly, the analysis of this debate elucidates the emergence of a new concept of immunity
that rested upon the notion of an active host response. The humoralists erected their
theory on Metchnikoff' s original scaffold, and the ensuing debate of the nascent science
relied on the successful establishment of his basic concept. With the studies of Bordet,
Metchnikoff's protégé, the essential resolution of the acrimonious debate was offered.
Metchnikoff continued his research by attempting to apply the phagocytosis theory to
mechanisms of senility, while immunology oriented itself toward the biochemical definition
of immune recognition.
Brain organization and sleep function.
Krueger JM, Obál F Jr, Kapás L, Fang J.
Behav Brain Res 1995;:177-85.
A view of brain organization and sleep function is presented. Sleep is hypothesized to
begin at the neuronal group level. Sleep results in the use and thus maintenance, of
synapses that are insufficiently stimulated during wakefulness thereby serving to preserve
a constancy of a synaptic superstructure. It is further hypothesized that sleep at the
neuronal group level is regulated by the production of substances whose rate of production
or catabolism is synaptic use-dependent. If sufficient number of neuronal groups are in a
sleep state (also called disjunctive state) then the perception of sleepiness occurs.
Coordination of neuronal group sleep results from humoral and neuronal projection systems
previously linked to sleep regulation. The theory presented is unique in that it: (a)
hypothesizes an organizational level at which sleep occurs; (b) hypothesizes that sleep is
neuronal- -use-dependent, not wakefulness-dependent; (c) hypothesizes that sleep first
occurs in evolution when complex ganglia evolved; and (d) hypothesizes the both non-rapid
eye movement sleep (NREMS) and REMS serve the same function of synaptic reorganization.
The theory is consistent with past theories of sleep function, yet provides a
fundamentally new paradigm for sleep research.
Destructive heat and cooling prayer: Malay humoralism in pregnancy, childbirth and the
Soc Sci Med 1987;:357-65.
Malaya, an ancient crossroads of trade, was the recipient of Chinese and Ayurvedic humoral
ideas and, later, those of medieval Islam. These ideas were readily accepted by Malays,
since they are highly congruent with pre-existing notions among aboriginal peoples of
Malaya involving a hot-cold opposition in the material and spiritual universe and its
effects upon human health. Islamic Malays have adapted these aboriginal beliefs to
correspond to the Greek- Arabic humoral model in matters concerning foods, diseases, and
medicines. Although Malay theories of disease causation include such concepts as soul loss
and spirit attack, along with 'naturalistic' ideas such as dietary imbalance and systemic
reactions to foods, all of these theories can either be reinterpreted in humoral terms,
or, at least, are congruent with the basic tenets of Islamic humoral pathology. Behaviors
and beliefs regarding human reproduction, however, while essentially following a humoral
pattern, diverge from Islamic, as well as traditional Chinese and Indian Ayurvedic,
humoral theories. Unlike any other major humoral doctrine, Malay reproductive theory (like
that of non-Islamic aboriginal peoples of Malaya) equates coldness with health and
fertility and heat with disease and sterility. These ideas, in turn, are related to
beliefs regarding the nature of the spirit world: the destructiveness of spiritual heat
and the efficacy of cooling prayer.
The birth of immunology. III. The fate of the phagocytosis theory.
Cell Immunol 1992;:505-30.
During the period of 1895-1910, immunology was preoccupied with defining the cellular
(Elie Metchnikoff's phagocytosis theory) as opposed to the humoral basis of bactericidal
defense. Although initial discovery of immunopathologic phenomena had been made (e.g.,
relating to transplantation, autoimmunity, allergy), focus on microbicidal therapy and
diagnosis of infectious diseases remained the major stimuli of inquiry. The debate
concerning the relative roles of phagocytes, complement, amboceptors (sensibilizing
factors, antibody, antitoxins), various lysins (e.g., bacteriolysins, spermatolysins,
hemolysins), agglutinins, stimulins, and then Almoth Wright's opsonins reflects the
ambiguity of a scientific language being created in an era still struggling with a poorly
defined experimental system, for the language, both its vocabulary (newly studied
phenomena) and grammar (operational mechanisms) was yet to be codified. The joint award of
the Nobel Prize to Metchnikoff and Paul Ehrlich in 1908 for their respective contributions
to the "theory of immunity" appeared to proclaim a consensus, but the secret
Nobel Committee reports that evaluated Metchnikoff' s contributions reveal only a grudging
acceptance of his position, and the award was clearly made on the basis of an apparent
complementarity between the theoretical views of the humoralists and those elements of the
phagocytosis theory that fit the then current discussion of immunity. In this regard,
opsonins played an especially important role as both an experimental and conceptual bridge
between the competing schools. What was no longer under consideration (and in fact never
was explicitly debated) concerned the intellectual foundation of Metchnikoff's original
concept of immunity as those activities that defined organismal identity, (developed from
Metchnikoff's research in developmental biology) and which regarded host defense
mechanisms as only subordinate to this primary function. Immunology in the first half of
the 20th century pursued issues pertinent to chemically characterizing immune specificity
and only later returned to the Metchnikovian question of how the immune identity was
established. This latter venture has achieved molecular sophistication, but even such a
formulation may be an inadequate answer to the Metchnikovian postulate. The theoretical
discussion between cellularists and humoralists continues in new guises, for the essential
debate remains unresolved.
The wisdom of hindsight.
Annu Rev Immunol 1994;:1-62.
This essay is a highly personalized account of some of the important conceptual
contributions to immunology. I have asked myself, "What were the ideas that caught my
attention and how and by whom were they presented?" I have learned that most of what
immunologists have called concepts deal with too small a slice of the subject. They are
essentially inductive extrapolations from one experiment to a possible next step.
Historically, these extrapolations extended over too narrow a chasm to account for the
information available at the time. The result was that an extrapolation from one
misleading observation could dominate and distort, for a significant time, the course of
the field. It is also why there has been an inverse relationship between the clarity of a
theory and its ease of acceptance by immunologists. Looking to the past, I have used two
areas to illustrate the role of conceptualization: the self-nonself discrimination and the
origin of the humoral repertoire. To illustrate all of this I have chosen as a cast of
characters the founding fathers of immunology as we know it today. I hope that by taking
this look into the rear view mirror our efforts will be guided in more productive ways.
The take-home lesson is that we need to widen our horizon constantly to make more general
concepts that then render the manipulation of the immune system more useful.
Hot and cold in women's ethnotherapeutics: the American- Mexican West.
Kay M, Yoder M.
Soc Sci Med 1987;:347-55.
The purpose of this paper is to report the current status of hot/cold principles in the
ethnotherapeutics of women of southwestern U.S.A., northwestern Mexico. The paper presents
a secondary data analysis from three studies, including a data bank of Women's
Ethnotherapeutic Agents derived from literature searches, interviews of women in research
of Mexican American Grandmothers as Health Care Advisors, and research in the historical
roots of the ethnotherapeutic agents used in contemporary domestic medicine. This report
presents women's home remedies, what these remedies are believed to do, and the sources of
this domestic therapy knowledge. It concentrates on persistence and change in one aspect
of the theoretical base of these remedies, their humoral complexional classification. In
the analysis of data from these studies, continuation of aspects of the hot/cold theory is
demonstrated. It is suggested that the persistence is tacit, with the lack of articulated
knowledge of humoral theory today stemming from the content of contemporary remedy books.
Instead of arguing either diffusion or independent invention, commonly held
ethnophysiological concepts are offered as a possible explanation for the persistence of
hot and cold therapy practices.
An Ayurvedic theory of cancer
Med Anthropol 1991;:121-36.
Ayurveda is a healing system widely practiced throughout South Asia. It is founded upon a
set of Sanskrit texts composed two thousand years ago which describe in detail a theory of
humoral balance within the body. The name Ayurveda means "that which has been seen to
be true about long life. " In 1975 in southern Tamil Nadu, an aged practitioner of
Ayurveda conducted for the author's benefit a series of lectures about cancer, in which he
propounded his own idiosyncratic theory regarding the nature of this disease. The doctor's
lectures were a linguistic and topical pastiche, melding Indian and Western biologies,
psychologies, and sociologies. The lectures were fascinating for they demonstrated many
lines of kinship between ideas expressed in the ancient Sanskrit texts and ideas afloat
still in the modern world. But for all their richness Mahadeva Iyer's lectures were
seemingly unfocused, and his motives for developing them were unclear to the author. Only
when the author was able to see these lectures, not as cultural artifacts, but as messages
addressed from one historically situated personality to another, did the reason for the
doctor's conveyance of them to her become clear.
The image of Byzantine medicine in the satire "Timarion"
Byzantine medicine is usually regarded as a static and non-creative descendant of
classical Greek medicine, a point of view confirmed by the Byzantine medical texts. In
this essay, the anonymous satire "Timarion" is analyzed in respect to its image
of contemporary medical theory. Timarion, the fictive narrator, falls ill with a fever and
is brought to Hades by two conductors of souls. They assert that he cannot survive,
because he has secreted all his elementary bile. According to a decree by Asclepias and
Hippocrates posted in Hades, any person that has lost one of his four elements may not
live longer. In Hades Timarion sues to the court of judges of the dead. His lawyer, the
sophist Theodore of Smyrna, persuades the judges that the bile excreted by Timarion has
not been elementary in the sense of humoral pathology. So Timarion is allowed to return to
life. The author of the satire ridicules the fundamental axiom of the four humours.
Asclepias, Hippocrates and Erasistratos, who are attached to the infernal court as
experts, cannot defend their theory against the convincing arguments of a sophist. The
"divine" Galen, who probably would have been able to, is absent in order to
complete a book of his. The "Timarion" with its harsh critique of medical theory
is very amusing and a rare example of "actuality" in Byzantine literature.
New aspects of the theory inflammation (immune inflammation)
Arkh Patol 1981;:3-12.
Immune inflammation (II) arises on the basis of immunopathological mechanisms and acquires
certain qualitative and quantitative features. It develops in a sensitized host following
a specific immune response. Several kinds of II are to be distinguished differing from
each other by the prevalence of disorders in cellular or humoral immunity, the pattern of
the antigen, involvement in the response of immunoglobulins of different classes,
complement components and a set of mediators. According to Sell's scheme, six
immunopathological mechanisms are distinguished which underlie the development of early
(like immediate type hypersensitivity) or late (like delayed type hypersensitivity) immune
inflammation. Sometimes humoral and cellular mechanisms alternate in II which is reflected
in the morphological picture of inflammation. This is illustrated by an example of the
study of tissue inflammatory reactions in the synovial membrane in rheumatoid arthritis.
Immune inflammation shows a trend to self-reproduction and continuous course with periods
of remission and exacerbation of different durations. Timely recognition of immune
inflammation is important both theoretically and practically.
I. I. Mechnikoff's contribution to immunology.
J Hyg Epidemiol Microbiol Immunol 1985;:185-91.
I. I. Mechnikoff's contribution to various aspects of immunology is evaluated. The 25
years' struggle of this scientist for the existence of phagocytosis theory is briefly
described. Works of I. I. Mechnikoff dealing with several factors of humoral immunity and
cytotoxins are reviewed. The significance of I. I. Mechnikoff's studies providing analysis
of immune processes in the phylogenetic sense as well as his ideas about the nervous
system role in immunity processes is stressed.
Nutritional implications of the free-radical theory of aging.
J Am Coll Nutr 1982;:27-34.
Aging is the progressive accumulation of changes with time associated with and/or
responsible for the ever-increasing susceptibility to disease and death. These
time-related changes are attributed to the aging process. This process may be due in part
to free radical reactions, largely those involving oxygen, going on continuously
throughout the cells and tissues. Dietary manipulations expected to lower the rate of
production of free-radical reaction damage have been shown to 1) increase the life span of
mice, rats, fruit flies, nematodes, and rotifers, as well as the life span of neurospora,
2) inhibit development of some forms of cancer, 3) enhance humoral and cell-mediated
immune responses, and 4) slow development of amyloidosis and the autoimmune disorders of
NZB mice. Free-radical reactions may also play a significant role in the deterioration of
the cardiovascular and central nervous systems with age. It is reasonable to expect, on
the basis of present data, that the healthy life span can be increased by five or more
years by keeping body weight down, at a level compatible with a sense of well-being, while
ingesting diets adequate in essential nutrients but designed to minimize random
free-radical reactions in the body.
Development of the immune system
Pathol Biol (Paris) 1992;:685-9.
The development of immune defense mechanisms begins early during fetal life but is not yet
completed at birth. The earliest hematopoietic stem cells, which give rise to the
lymphocytic and myelomonocytic cell lines, appear between the fourth and eight weeks
postconception. T cells, responsible for cellular immune defense mechanisms, are first
detectable at 12 weeks and seem to acquire their functional capabilities at the 16th week.
B lymphocytes, responsible for humoral immunity, can be identified in the fetal liver at
eight weeks and are functional at the 12-th-13th week, with the ability to produce
specific IgM antibodies. Thus, in theory, fetuses of more than 16 weeks can produce a full
immune response. Neonates still have incomplete development of a number of mechanisms
involved in nonspecific immunity (natural killer, polynuclear and macrophage
chemo-attraction, complement system).
Inhibition of autoimmune hepatitis with hot labelled liver specific antigen.
Fehér J, Filipp G, Kocsár L, Mohari K, Toncsev H, Fehér E, Biro G.
Clin Exp Immunol 1984;:360-8.
In accordance with the clonal selection theory the authors intended to prevent the
development of autoimmune hepatitis in rabbits with the aid of radiolabeled liver specific
membrane (LSP) antigen administered prior to the antigen immunization. The autoimmune
hepatitis was produced in rabbits by allogen LSP antigen. The inflammatory reaction was
characterized by the serum glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase activity in the sera, by the
parameters of immune reaction as well as by lysosomal membrane alterations in the liver
and by morphological findings. The process was inhibited by pre-treatment with hot
labelled LSP antigen. Neither the radioactively labelled growth hormone pre-treatment, nor
the application of hot labelled antigen at the last week of the experiment were able to
prevent the humoral and lysosomal, as well as the morphological data characteristic for
autoimmune hepatitis. The results obtained may be understood considering the mechanism of
The pathophysiology of migraine.
Ann Acad Med Singapore 1985;:4-11.
New knowledge of intrinsic serotonergic and noradrenergic pathways, projecting from
brainstem rostrally to cerebral cortex and caudally to spinal cord, makes a neurogenic
hypothesis for migraine more plausible than the previously held humoral theory. Low
frequency stimulation of locus ceruleus in the monkey increases cerebral vascular
resistance, thus diminishing blood flow, while high frequency stimulation increases
external carotid arterial flow by connections with the greater superficial petrosal
component of the facial nerve. The latter connection also serves the 'trigeminovascular
reflex' whereby stimulation of the trigeminal nerve causes vasodilatation in the external
carotid circulation in cat and man. Vascular changes evoked from the locus ceruleus are
predominantly unilateral and stimulate those recorded in classical migraine, suggesting
that excessive discharge of ascending monoaminergic pathways may initiate these phenomena
in man. Since descending monoaminergic pathways play an important part in the endogenous
pain control system, a phase of monoamine depletion could open the pain gate and give rise
to headache. The referral of ice-cream headache and ice-pick pains to the habitual site of
migraine headache in some patients, even in the period between attacks, suggest a dormant
neural excitability which becomes active periodically to induce a migrainous episode. The
symptomatology and phenomena of clinical migraine can now be explained in terms of
instability of central monoaminergic pathways, a hypothesis that can be tested
experimentally and which should lead to more precise pharmacological management of
migraine in the future.
Sport and medicine in ancient Greece.
Appelboom T, Rouffin C, Fierens E.
Am J Sports Med 1988;:594-6.
Sport and medicine in ancient Greece were the result of a widespread tradition of liberty,
which was at the heart of one of the most brilliant civilizations in history. Whereas war
encouraged the development of surgical knowledge springing out of medical experience on
the battlefield, peace promoted the burgeoning of sport as an integral part of Greek
upbringing, allowing the channeling of young people' s aggressiveness into physical
competition. Medicine was magical and mythological, especially in the time of Homer (9th
century BC); Aesculapius, the mythical god of healing, was its reference point. With
Hippocrates (5th century BC), the body of medical experience was to be codified and built
up, and was to undergo a novel evolution based on the theory of the balance of the four
humors. The athlete' s mentality, faced with trauma in the sports ground, underwent a
change; injury was no longer considered a punishment by the gods. At the same time, temple
offerings tendered in the hope of victory gave way to the athlete's personal preparation
based on a specifically modified lifestyle, diet, and training. The resulting progress in
medicine and public health, especially from the 5th century BC onward, was not only to
favor athletic performances of high quality but also surgical techniques that were very
advanced for their time. Thus it can be seen that the medical knowledge associated with
the practice of sport progressed during antiquity because of its obligation to follow the
warrior and then the athlete.