April 1, 2008 (Vol. 28, No. 7)


Strong Points: Informative
Weak Points: Could be broader

When I read the opening line on this site, “When you think of leeches, you probably don’t get warm fuzzy feelings,” I thought it sounded like something I had written, so I had to include the site in this month’s listings. As Leeches! points out, these organisms have gotten a bit of a bad rap. They actually are pretty harmless. They are a source of food for fish, ducks, and turtles and are abundant in the summer. Though most people think of the medical use of leeches in days gone by as a way of bleeding patients, the site points out that there are medical applications of these interesting creatures, even today. As most people know, leeches are notorious for their very potent blood anticoagulant (hirudin), a vasodilator, and an anaesthetic. The combination of these turns out to be useful for everything from helping to heal black eyes and treatment of strokes to controlling inflammations of the inner ear and preventing gangrene. No wonder the physicians of days gone by marveled at the wonders of these creatures. A very informative site about an unusual organism.

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