I have wanted to do this project for a long, long time. We all have our dreams- here is my project. I want to help develop a scientific test for diagnosing brain concussions. I also really want to generate treatment for these concussions, which are essentially minor brain trauma, that is both straight forward, that really protects. I believe we now have the necessary insight-knowledge to accomplish this project.
I mentioned in the first-post about Sir Alexander Fleming. Penicillin was used by the Chinese three thousand years ago placing moldy soybean curd on skin boils as a curative first aid ointment. Native American Indians used warm soil which contains molds and other fungi in a similar wound treatment. Little was actually known of the chemistry beneath the underlying reaction to achieve stopping these infections.
But leading up to Fleming’s observations were some primary concepts with pertinent observations from other observers, especially Louis Pasteur. Pasteur introduced the concept of the germ theory of disease being caused by microorganisms. This prompted a strong belief that something could kill the disease causing organisms without hurting the person being infected. Joseph Lister noticed that urine samples contaminated with mold would not permit the growth of bacteria in 1871. William Roberts, in 1874, observed that bacterial contamination does not affect cultures of the mold Penicillium glaucum. Pasteur with colleague Jules Joubert reported in 1877 that cultures of anthrax bacilli when contaminated with various unidentified molds, became inhibited. Then in 1897, Ernest Duchesne wrote his doctorate on the evolutionary competition among microorganisms. He specifically studied the interaction between Escherichia coli, isolated from human intestines, amazingly with Penicillium glaucum. Duchesne described how the bacteria was eliminated by the fungus when both were grown on the same culture. When he inoculated laboratory animals with a lethal dose of typhoid bacilli and Penicillium glaucum, the mold prevented the animal from contracting typhoid. Yet despite his urgent plea to pursue this research he did no further work with Penicillium glaucum. In the 1920’s Andre Gratia and Sara Dath actually identified a species of Penicillium that acting as a fungal contamination had inhibited growth of their Staphylococcus aureus culture bacterium to the point of describing their observation in a paper. Yet no interest came from their paper and they did not pursue the Penicillium story. Fleming himself in the early 1920’s discovered lysozymes, common enzymes found in tears or mouth born mucus that cause bacteria to burst their cell walls. So on that fateful morning Fleming was ready to notice something different. Yet he almost missed the Nobel Prize moment. Fleming had a reputation for forgetting what his tissue cultures were which created a cluttered, confusing aspect toward the appearance of his laboratory. After being away for a one month holiday, he began tossing the old cultures into a vat of Lysol. An unexpected former staff visitor, entered Fleming’s lab. Fleming started to show him his latest cultures, and then noticed the no growth mold contamination around his bacterial culture. Fleming was not an expert on molds but he named the substance from the genus penicillin. But he toyed with the discovery for a couple of years, he wrote up the penicillin discovery paper in 1929 with again not much attention paid to it by his medical peers. It would take a decade plus the Second World War to bring penicillin as a antibiotic into treatment.