Archive Page - 08/16/13 41 years, 2,180 covers and 55,278 stories from PEOPLE magazine's history for you to enjoy
- See All the Winners from the Kids' Choice Awards!
- The Style Top 5: Amal Clooney Brings Her Glam Street Style to NYC, Iggy Azalea Gets Candid About Her Body and More
- Lions vs. Crocodile: This Time, It's Personal (VIDEO)
- Inside Story: How Brittany Maynard Became a 'Death with Dignity' Advocate
- Angelina Jolie Makes Her First Post-Surgery Appearance
On Newsstands Now
- Matthew McConaughey: In His Own Words
- Jessa Duggar's Wedding Album
- Brittany Maynard's Final Days
Pick up your copy on newsstands
Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine
People Top 5
LAST UPDATE: Tuesday February 10, 2015 01:10PM EST
PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- July 10, 1995
- Vol. 44
- No. 2
In Praise of (yech!) Leeches
The Bloodsucker, Once a Cure-All, Makes a Comeback in the Operating Room
The elusive giant is soon to join Sawyer's livestock of between 50,000 and 80,000 at Biopharm, in Hendy, south Wales, one of the world's only breeding ranches for leeches. Used to treat maladies from indigestion to insanity in the 19th century, the big worms are making a comeback. Last year, Sawyer, 52, sold 7,000 European medicinal leeches to doctors and researchers around the world. The Amazon giant has especially strong anticoagulant properties and is being cloned to break down clots in the brains of stroke victims.
Microsurgeons reattaching severed human body parts have little trouble relinking arteries, but veins are flimsy and prone to clotting. This means blood flows in, but not out—leading to swelling and threatening the reattachment. Enter the leech, which sucks out the blood, relieves pressure and can help restore circulation. Other techniques include injecting anticoagulants, but they are less effective. Leeches seldom scar and are painless because of a self-producing anesthetic. Using a $7 worm to save a $20,000 finger replacement procedure is "incredibly cheap medicine," says surgeon Peter Mahaffey of Lister Hospital in Stevenage, England.
Sawyer's fascination with leeches, dating from his boyhood in leechy Sumter County, S.C., eventually led him to experts at the University of Wales, where he earned a Ph.D. and met his future wife, Lorna, now 47. Sawyer then wrote his magnum opus: Leech Biology and Behavior. Biopharm, launched in 1984 with a $60,000 British government loan, not only sells leeches but also harvests leech saliva—which makes an excellent anticoagulant.
Now Sawyer is trying to do something for the leech itself. Early next year, he will open a leech museum in Charleston, S.C., where he eventually hopes to move with his wife and their adopted daughter, Bethany, 3. "Everybody wants to give money to save the panda, but you try getting sympathy for an endangered leech," he laments. "It's not fair."
March 28, 2015
Treat Yourself! 4 Preview Issues
The most buzzed about stars this minute!