In China the antecedent of alchemy is represented by the god of longevity emerging from the peach. The first synthetic drug, Kim-Yeh, red colloidal gold, signified gold-cum -herbal juice. Kim-Yeh=Kimiya (Arabic) =chemeia (Greek). Translated this gave Chrusozomion=Gold Ferment, specifying the drug. Rasayana was translated as Chumeia, herbal juice-incorporate and signified the art alchemy. Chemeia was Chinese and Chumeia, Indian. Originally each signified both, a drug of longevity and the art, alchemy. Finally the art of making red gold was misunderstood as the art of making gold itself
Prime Matter is matter-cum-energy. The first substance identified as such was lead. When gently heated it becomes red and redness means soul or energy so that lead was potentially red or soul-like and as such dual natured. Mercury also becomes red and can return to white metal. It was thus dual natured and was the second substance recognized as Prime Matter. First lead alone and then lead and mercury were considered as the source of all metals.
Motivation: The development of new high-throughput genotyping products requires a significant investment in testing and training samples to evaluate and optimize the product before it can be used reliably on new samples. One reason for this is current methods for automated calling of genotypes are based on clustering approaches which require a large number of samples to be analyzed simultaneously, or an extensive training dataset to seed clusters. In systems where inbred samples are of primary interest, current clustering approaches perform poorly due to the inability to clearly identify a heterozygote cluster.
Results: As part of the development of two custom single nucleotide polymorphism genotyping products for Oryza sativa (domestic rice), we have developed a new genotype calling algorithm called ‘ALCHEMY’ based on statistical modeling of the raw intensity data rather than modelless clustering. A novel feature of the model is the ability to estimate and incorporate inbreeding information on a per sample basis allowing accurate genotyping of both inbred and heterozygous samples even when analyzed simultaneously. Since clustering is not used explicitly, ALCHEMY performs well on small sample sizes with accuracy exceeding 99% with as few as 18 samples.
Availability: ALCHEMY is available for both commercial and academic use free of charge and distributed under the GNU General Public License at http://alchemy.sourceforge.net/
Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
Appropriate case management of suspected malaria in Cambodia is critical given anti-malarial drug resistance in the region. Improving diagnosis and the use of recommended malarial treatments is a challenge in Cambodia where self-treatment and usage of drug cocktails is widespread, a notable difference from malaria treatment seeking in other countries. This qualitative study adds to the limited evidence base on Cambodian practices, aiming to understand the demand-side factors influencing treatment-seeking behaviour, including the types of home treatments, perceptions of cocktail medicines and reasons for diagnostic testing. The findings may help guide intervention design.
The study used in-depth interviews (IDIs) (N = 16) and focus group discussions (FGDs) (N = 12) with Cambodian adults from malaria-endemic areas who had experienced malaria fever in the previous two weeks. Data were analysed using NVivo software.
Findings suggest that Cambodians initially treat suspected malaria at home with home remedies and traditional medicines. When seeking treatment outside the home, respondents frequently reported receiving a cocktail of medicines from trusted providers. Cocktails are perceived as less expensive and more effective than full-course, pre-packaged medicines. Barriers to diagnostic testing include a belief in the ability to self-diagnose based on symptoms, cost and reliance on providers to recommend a test. Factors that facilitate testing include recommendation by trusted providers and a belief that anti-malarial treatment for illnesses other than malaria can be harmful.
Treatment-seeking behaviour for malaria in Cambodia is complex, driven by cultural norms, practicalities and episode-related factors. Effective malaria treatment programmes will benefit from interventions and communication materials that leverage these demand-side factors, promoting prompt visits to facilities for suspected malaria and challenging patients’ misconceptions about the effectiveness of cocktails. Given the importance of the patient-provider interaction and the pivotal role that providers play in ensuring the delivery of appropriate malaria care, future research and interventions should also focus on the supply side factors influencing provider behaviour.
Treatment-seeking behaviour; Patient perceptions; Patient-provider interactions; Malaria diagnosis; Malaria treatment; Cocktail; ACT; Cambodia; Qualitative research
Treatment of diseases of the brain by drugs or surgery necessitates an understanding of its structure and functions. The philosophical neurosurgeon soon encounters difficulties when localising the abstract concepts of mind and soul within the tangible 1300-gram organ containing 100 billion neurones. Hippocrates had focused attention on the brain as the seat of the mind. The tabula rasa postulated by Aristotle cannot be localised to a particular part of the brain with the confidence that we can localise spoken speech to Broca’s area or the movement of limbs to the contralateral motor cortex. Galen’s localisation of imagination, reasoning, judgement and memory in the cerebral ventricles collapsed once it was evident that the functional units–neurones–lay in the parenchyma of the brain. Experiences gained from accidental injuries (Phineas Gage) or temporal lobe resection (William Beecher Scoville); studies on how we see and hear and more recent data from functional magnetic resonance studies have made us aware of the extensive network of neurones in the cerebral hemispheres that subserve the functions of the mind. The soul or atman, credited with the ability to enliven the body, was located by ancient anatomists and philosophers in the lungs or heart, in the pineal gland (Descartes), and generally in the brain. When the deeper parts of the brain came within the reach of neurosurgeons, the brainstem proved exceptionally delicate and vulnerable. The concept of brain death after irreversible damage to it has made all of us aware of ‘the cocktail of brain soup and spark’ in the brainstem so necessary for life. If there be a soul in each of us, surely, it is enshrined here.
Brain; Brainstem; Mind; Soul; Neurology; Neurosurgery; Philosophy
Among the wide-spectrum contribution of the Rambam – the Maimonides – in philosophy to the word and to Judaism are his ideas on the body and on the soul and on the relations between them. His major approaches in these subjects are the following: 1) The body is the home of the soul, and the soul guides the body. That means the body and the soul are one unit. 2) The soul has five virtual parts. Each part is responsible for another activity in the human being. 3) Except for the treatment of diseases of the body and the soul with drugs, foods, physical exercise, etc., the Rambam believes that maintaining the health – of the body and of the soul – lies first of all, and probably exclusively, in observing the commandments and improving one’s ways, morals and conduct up to their highest levels, toward all of the world’s creatures. 4) The Rambam is of the opinion that one needs to persist in learning the Torah. One should worship God with awe and love and observe good values and virtues. All of these build the frameworks that maintain mental health and strengthen man’s abilities to develop skills for maintaining bodily health. This is so because body and soul are one – which is the basis of the Rambam’s philosophy of health and medicine.
Maimonides; Rambam; soul; body; soul-body
Wound complications of closed sternal fracture are rare, but may have serious consequences if not effectively managed. We report a case of a patient who presented to the emergency department with a sternal abscess, osteomyelitis, and mediastinitis complicating a closed sternal fracture. It is hypothesised that in our patient bacteraemia post intravenous drug use resulted in seeding of the haematoma with Staphylococcus aureus. Early diagnosis and a multidisciplinary team effort were important in ensuring a favourable outcome.
abscess; fracture, closed; mediastinitis; osteomyelitis; sternum
This is the first study of adobe brick contamination anywhere in the world. Huancavelica, Peru is the site of historic cinnabar refining and one of the most mercury (Hg) contaminated urban areas in the world. Over 80% of homes in Huancavelica are constructed with adobe bricks made from Hg contaminated soil. In this study we measured total Hg concentrations in adobe brick, dirt floor, surface dust, and air samples from the interior of 60 adobe brick houses located in four neighborhoods. Concentrations of total Hg in adobe bricks, dirt floors, and surface dust ranged from 8.00 to 1070 µg/g, 3.06 to 926 µg/g, and 0.02 to 9.69 µg/wipe, respectively, with statistically significant differences between the four neighborhoods. Concentrations of Hg in adobe brick and dirt floor samples in Huancavelica were orders of magnitude higher than in Ayacucho, a non-mining town in Peru. A strong correlation exists between total Hg concentrations in adobe bricks and dirt floors which confirms that adobe bricks were being made on-site and not purchased from an off-site source. A strong correlation between surface dust and adobe bricks and dirt floors indicates that walls and floors serve as indoor sources of Hg contamination. Elemental Hg vapor concentrations were below detection (<0.5 µg/m3) in most homes; however in homes with detectable levels, concentrations up to 5.1 µg/m3 were observed. No statistically significant differences in Hg vapor measurements were observed between neighborhoods. This study demonstrates that building materials used widely in developing communities, such as adobe bricks, may be a substantial source of residential Hg exposure in silver or gold refining communities where Hg is produced or used for amalgamation in artisanal gold production.
‘Lingha chendooram’ number 1 is a single drug useful in Siddha system of medicine. This is prepared from Cinnabar, the chief ore of mercury. The standardization is carried out with respect to the presence of Mercury and Sulphur in the drug.
‘Lingha chendooram’; Cinnabar; Siddha drug; Standardisation
Mercury is a major toxic metal ranking top in the Toxic Substances List. Cinnabar (contains mercury sulfide) has been used in traditional medicines for thousands years as an ingredient in various remedies, and 40 cinnabar-containing traditional medicines are still used today. Little is known about toxicology profiles or toxicokinetics of cinnabar and cinnabar-containing traditional medicines, and the high mercury content in these Chinese medicines raises justifiably escalations of public concern. This minireview searched the available database of cinnabar, compared cinnabar with common mercurials, such as mercury vapor, inorganic mercury, and organic mercury, and discusses differences in their bioavailability, disposition, and toxicity. The analysis showed that cinnabar is insoluble and poorly absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. Absorbed mercury from cinnabar is mainly accumulated in kidney, resembling the disposition pattern of inorganic mercury. Heating cinnabar results in release of mercury vapor, which in turn can produce toxicity similar to inhalation of these vapors. The doses of cinnabar required to produce neurotoxicity are thousands 1000 times higher than methyl mercury. Following long-term use of cinnabar, renal dysfunction may occur. Dimercaprol and succimer are effective chelation therapies for general mercury intoxication including cinnabar. Pharmacology studies of cinnabar suggest sedative and hypnotic effects, but the therapeutic basis of cinnabar is still not clear. In summary, cinnabar is chemically inert with a relatively low toxic potential when taken orally. In risk assessment, cinnabar is less toxic than many other forms of mercury, but the rationale for its inclusion in traditional Chinese medicines remains to be fully justified.
Cinnabar; Traditional medicines; Elementary mercury; Mercuric chloride; Methylmercury; Bioavailability; Disposition; Toxicology
Siddha is a traditional medical system of India. According to siddha system of medicine, chendooram is a red colour powder generally made of metallic compounds. Mercury is used in the form of rasa chendooram (red oxide of mercury). This paper deals with the standardization of Kantha chendooram. It is a Siddha preparation of 8 ingredients, viz. 1. Purified Lode Stone, 2. Purified Sulphur, 3. Lead wort root powder, 4. Eclipta juice, 5. Lime juice, 6. Milk, 7. Egg albumin, 8. Madar Latex. In this study an attempt was made to standardize Kantha chendooram which has not been attempted by researchers earlier. Standardization of Kantha chendooram was in terms of its organoleptic characters, qualitative identification of phytochemical constituents, metallic quantification and in terms of pharmacognostical standardization.
The effect of cinnabar on pyrite oxidation by mercury-sensitive and mercury-resistant strains of Thiobacillus ferrooxidans was investigated by using percolation columns. Mercury-resistant strains oxidized pyrite in pyrite-cinnabar mixtures (1 and 10%, wt/wt), whereas a mercury-sensitive strain did not. Elemental mercury was produced by the mercury-resistant strains growing in the pyrite-cinnabar mixtures in percolation columns and in flasks containing cinnabar only. Manometric experiments showed that cinnabar had little effect on oxygen uptake of mercury-sensitive or mercury-resistant cells growing on ferrous sulfate, pyrite, or pyrite-ferrous sulfate mixtures. In addition, shake flask leaching experiments showed that cinnabar had little effect on pyrite oxidation at 1% (wt/wt) but inhibited growth of mercury-sensitive and mercury-resistant strains at 10%. Mercury-resistant strains were unable to grow on cinnabar as an energy source.
We have shown that dicyanogold(I), [Au(CN)2]- is a common metabolite found in blood and
urine samples of patients treated with different gold based drugs. Some patients have high levels
of gold within their red blood cells (RBCs). Size exclusion and C18 reversed phase
chromatography show that the majority of the gold in RBC lysates is bound to protein, but small
molecules such as dicyanogold(I) and gold-glutathione complexes are also present. Dicyanogold
incubation with red blood cells in vitro leads to a rapid and complete uptake of gold. This uptake
is unaffected by DIDS, an inhibitor of the anion channel, but is blocked by the addition of external
cyanide. Dicyanogold is also readily taken up by H9 cells, a continuous CD4+ cell line. This
uptake is significantly inhibited by N-ethylmaleimide, suggesting a requirement for sulfhydryl
groups. Dicyanogold inhibits the replication of the AIDS virus, HIV, in a cell culture model.
People in a positive mood process information in ways that reinforce and maintain this positive mood. The current studies examine how positive mood influences responses to social comparisons and demonstrates that people in a positive mood interpret ambiguous information about comparison others in self-benefitting ways. Specifically, four experiments demonstrate that compared to negative mood or neutral mood participants, participants in a positive mood engage in effortful re-interpretations of ambiguously similar comparison targets so that they may assimilate to upward comparison targets and contrast from downward comparison targets.
Social comparison; Positive mood; Self-evaluations; Assimilation and contrast; Self-serving bias
This paper was presented at the International Workshop on mantras and ritual diagrams in Hinduism, held in Paris, 21-22 June1984. The complete text in French, which appeared in the Journal asiatique 1986, p.203, is based upon an analysis of Ayurvedc literature from ancient times down to the present and of numerous Sanskrit sources concerning he specialized sciences: alchemy and latrochemisry, veterinary medicine as well as agricultural and horticulture techniques.
This article deals with the history of Indian Alchemy and surveys its gradual and fertile growth in ancient India.
Based on unpublished manuscripts, the article reveals the keen interest shown by Marcelin Berthelot in Indian alchemy. The French Savant has actually inspired and encouraged the first historical research in this field, undertaken at the end of the last century, in Calcutta, by the Bengali scientist Prafulla Chandra Ray.
Alchemy as art tries to imitate creation such as spontaneous generation. The magic wands of creation, of Chinese origin, would be a compass and a triangular carpenter's square. Creation is represented by the dual-natured soul, comprising of the spirit (Ruh) and “the” soul (Nafs). The ultimate source is creative energy which emanates form the Divine word of command. Creative energy, in its non-manifest form, would be ultrasonic energy, which can be represented by a humming sourd. This would be sympolized by the humming sound. This would be symbolized by the humming sound of bees represent creative energy and in fig 3 the fiddle, as direct producers of a humming sound.
The field of regenerative medicine is rapidly gaining momentum as an increasing number of reports emerge concerning the induced conversions observed in cellular fate reprogramming. While in recent years, much attention has been focused on the conversion of fate-committed somatic cells to an embryonic-like or pluripotent state, there are still many limitations associated with the applications of induced pluripotent stem cell reprogramming, including relatively low reprogramming efficiency, the times required for the reprogramming event to take place, the epigenetic instability, and the tumorigenicity associated with the pluripotent state. On the other hand, lineage reprogramming involves the conversion from one mature cell type to another without undergoing conversion to an unstable intermediate. It provides an alternative approach in regenerative medicine that has a relatively lower risk of tumorigenesis and increased efficiency within specific cellular contexts. While lineage reprogramming provides exciting potential, there is still much to be assessed before this technology is ready to be applied in a clinical setting.
lineage reprogramming; cell plasticity; cell replacement therapy; disease modeling
This paper investigates John Dee’s relationship with two kinds of alchemist: the authorities whose works he read, and the contemporary practitioners with whom he exchanged texts and ideas. Both strands coincide in the reception of works attributed to the famous English alchemist, George Ripley (d. c. 1490). Dee’s keen interest in Ripley appears from the number of transcriptions he made of ‘Ripleian’ writings, including the Bosome book, a manuscript discovered in 1574 and believed to have been written in Ripley’s own hand. In 1583, Dee and his associate Edward Kelley left England for East Central Europe, taking with them a proportion of Dee’s vast library, including alchemical books—the contents of which would soon pique the interest of continental practitioners. Kelley used Ripley’s works, including the Bosome book, not only as sources of practical information, but as a means of furthering his own relationships with colleagues and patrons: transactions that in turn influenced Ripley’s posthumous continental reception. The resulting circulation of texts allows us to trace, with unusual precision, the spread of English alchemical ideas in the Holy Roman Empire from the late sixteenth century.
John Dee; Edward Kelley; George Ripley; Alchemy; Rudolf II; Prague; Manuscript circulation