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Got the "Phrensies?"

Summaries from: "Blood, An Epic History of Medicine and Commerce" by Douglas Starr.

Who would guess that a man who stripped off his clothes, set fire to houses, and beat his wife would be part of an epic time in medical history?? Here we have a madman in 1667 named Antoine Mauroy. He wasn't a very nice man as you can see from the description. In steps Jean-Baptiste Denis, a physician to Louis XIV. Someone had found Mr. Mauroy naked in the streets and bought him to Dr. Denis. Dr. Denis strapped Mr. Mauroy to a chair, bound a calf, and opened a vein in Mr. Mauroy's arm inserting a a tube. He drained off some blood and then inserted another tube into an artery in a calf allowing a bit of blood to flow into Mr. Mauroy from the calf. He felt (quote from the book):

"by its mildess and freshness might possibly allay the heat and ebullation of [the patient's] blood."

Mauroy complained of a "great heat" after the transfusion. His vein was sewn back up and he was told to rest. People believed that a certian animal's blood could counteract certian issues with people. The animals essence and it was called "Vitalism." From the book: "A stag's blood might carry traits of courage and longevity; a calf's blood, tranquillity."

Mauroy had another transfusion two days later. This time, the blood allowed into him from the calf was a larger amount. He developed the same heat sensation up his arm along with urinating black urine and horrendous vomitting. The transfusion was stopped and he was watched. He recovered--amazingly---and was very calm with his personality. He went to Confession on the day his urine was no longer black.

His wife didn't know where he had been. She had gone looking for him and when she found him, was surprised at the man he had become. He hugged her and was kind to her.

Denis moved on. He received another patient who was 16 years old and (from the book): "tormented with a contumaceous and violent fever." He had been to numerous doctors for bleeding but hadn't received a transfusion. Denis took a lamb for it's gentleness and decided to transfuse the young man with the lamb's blood. The young man survived and thrived. His next patient was a laborer. He too had lamb's blood and felt so much better afterward, he slaughtered the lamb to show his strength.

Later on, Mr. Mauroy showed up with his wife. His wife was bruised presumedly from more beatings and his behavior had once again become erratic. They began to give him another transfusion (more about this in the book) but it never took place beyond the beginning of the procedure. People had begun criticising Denis' work and Denis was couldn't handle any more of the crescendoing criticism. But Mr. Mauroy stood in front of him. During the procedure, he was shaking so bad that they couldn't start with the calf blood tranfusion. In the end, with all his criticism, people came after him and wanted to try him for murder. The twist on the trial that followed was bizzare. Denis was eventually aquitted.

It would be 150 years before doctor's attempted another experimental blood transfusion.

So, how come someone like Mauroy lived and got better? What's the explaination in this day and age?

Syphilis. Syphilis bacterium doesn't live well in high temperatures. Syphilis also causes brain damage which will add to the delusions Mr. Mauroy had. When he was transfused with calf blood, he developed a reaction which cause a high fever. It put the Syphilis in remission for a period of time until Mr. Mauroy had another transfusion.

Just another FYI in the history of blood.
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6 Comments On This Entry

The lambís blood may have had antibodies to syphilis which helped him to hold the infection back. I have antibodies grown for western blots all of the time, they primarily use rats, rabbits and chickens, but they will also use lambs to produce the antibodies. His increased body temperature probably didnít have long enough duration to affect the syphilis. :thud:

Iím surprised anyone survived the transfusions. I figured thereíd be anaphylactic shock and massive blood clotting, but what do I know. :giggle:
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Stitch Jones, on Jan 10 2007, 12:19 AM, said:

The lambís blood may have had antibodies to syphilis which helped him to hold the infection back. I have antibodies grown for western blots all of the time, they primarily use rats, rabbits and chickens, but they will also use lambs to produce the antibodies. His increased body temperature probably didnít have long enough duration to affect the syphilis. :thud:

Iím surprised anyone survived the transfusions. I figured thereíd be anaphylactic shock and massive blood clotting, but what do I know. :giggle:

Fever comes with all of those though doesn't it? In the first, they only used a "capful" and they bled the person ahead of it.
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That wa an interesting story Annie. Has anyone ever figured out whether or not Henry VIII's general insanity was caused by syphilis?
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exsailorette, on Jan 10 2007, 08:43 PM, said:

That wa an interesting story Annie. Has anyone ever figured out whether or not Henry VIII's general insanity was caused by syphilis?

No idea. Wouldn't be surprised though since---he had his share of multiple partners.
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Dublin5, on Jan 9 2007, 09:22 PM, said:

Stitch Jones, on Jan 10 2007, 12:19 AM, said:

The lambís blood may have had antibodies to syphilis which helped him to hold the infection back. I have antibodies grown for western blots all of the time, they primarily use rats, rabbits and chickens, but they will also use lambs to produce the antibodies. His increased body temperature probably didnít have long enough duration to affect the syphilis. :lol:

Iím surprised anyone survived the transfusions. I figured thereíd be anaphylactic shock and massive blood clotting, but what do I know. :comfort:

Fever comes with all of those though doesn't it? In the first, they only used a "capful" and they bled the person ahead of it.


The last I read, epidemiologists hypothesized that syphilis entered the human population through sheep. :o This may have changed since it was a while since Iíve read about syphilis. :lol: (Syphilis doesnít bother me I donít bother it.) If it is true then sheep may have some antibodies for syphilis. That is my rationale for why I donít think it was the heat, but Iím no expert on syphilis. :lol:

The black urine sounds like they did a number on his kidneys with the transfusion. I suppose the cell junk freed from the lambs red blood cells lysing overwhelmed the liver which I thought took care of most of the dead a dying blood cells, but then swamped the kidneys. I wonder what his bilirubin count was. :lol:
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Stitch Jones, on Jan 12 2007, 09:48 AM, said:

Dublin5, on Jan 9 2007, 09:22 PM, said:

Stitch Jones, on Jan 10 2007, 12:19 AM, said:

The lambís blood may have had antibodies to syphilis which helped him to hold the infection back. I have antibodies grown for western blots all of the time, they primarily use rats, rabbits and chickens, but they will also use lambs to produce the antibodies. His increased body temperature probably didnít have long enough duration to affect the syphilis. :lol:

Iím surprised anyone survived the transfusions. I figured thereíd be anaphylactic shock and massive blood clotting, but what do I know. :comfort:

Fever comes with all of those though doesn't it? In the first, they only used a "capful" and they bled the person ahead of it.


The last I read, epidemiologists hypothesized that syphilis entered the human population through sheep. :o This may have changed since it was a while since Iíve read about syphilis. :lol: (Syphilis doesnít bother me I donít bother it.) If it is true then sheep may have some antibodies for syphilis. That is my rationale for why I donít think it was the heat, but Iím no expert on syphilis. :lol:

The black urine sounds like they did a number on his kidneys with the transfusion. I suppose the cell junk freed from the lambs red blood cells lysing overwhelmed the liver which I thought took care of most of the dead a dying blood cells, but then swamped the kidneys. I wonder what his bilirubin count was. :lol:

God only knows what his bili was. They described the urine as "chimney soot."

I was reading on the transfusion stuff they used to do. They would take a dog and bleed it to almost death. Then, take another dog (Both dogs were bound) and a attach a tube to the artery of the donor dog and the vein of the recipient dog. They would use the neck. Then they would bleed out the other dog while seeing how miraculous it was that the donor dog got better.
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Be Yourself. Everyone is already taken.

http://img.photobuck.../Dsc00535-1.jpgI know when the Spirit of God is there, animals are the first ones to mellow out."If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers, 1897-1935"The poor dog, in life the firmest friend,The first to welcome, foremost to defend,Whose honest heart is still the master's own,Who labours, fights, lives, breathes for him alone,Unhonour'd falls, unnoticed all his worth,Denied in heaven the soul he held on earth,While man, vain insect hopes to be forgiven,And claims himself a sole exclusive heaven."Lord Byron Inscription on the monument of his Newfoundland dog, 1808" He is your friend, your partner,your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He willbe yours, faithful and true, to the last beatof his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy ofsuch devotion." Unknown

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