Scientists are forever coming up with new ways of lengthening in our life, making us stronger and fitter and, ultimately, striving to achieve ever-lasting life. Although they are still a long way from that, they often look to remedies of old that they can use and improve upon to make our lives better. The more cures and remedies the scientists come up with, the cheaper our private medical insurance premiums will be. At let's face it, we could do with something cheaper these days.
One of the older remedies that have been experimented with recently is the use of gold. Cleopatra is said to have slept in a pure gold face mask to enhance her beauty and ointments infused with gold were used for various skin complaints in Rome. Medical and beauty experts are now employing the use of gold for various fixes.
Some people like to have gold fillings but this is more often for show than for any other reason. However, they are now using gold as the material of choice for implants that are at risk of infection because it is very resistant to infection. Wires for pacemakers and stents that help support weak blood vessels are not only the best choice for limited risk of infection but also they are the best visible on an x ray, thus making placement and check-ups all that much easier.
Private medical insurance normally covers consultation, tests, operations and treatment and an amount of aftercare. The higher the risk of infection, the higher the private medical insurance costs. If the risks can be proved to be reduced, then it follows that the insurance companies are taking less risk and therefore won't need to charge as much.
A French doctor discovered the anti-inflammatory properties in gold in 1929. The official name for this type of medicine is called chrysotherapy and are very effective in treating rheumatoid arthritis. It is also used in the treatment of prostate cancer where three gold grains are inserted into the prostate and positioned with the use of X rays.
Gold is sometimes mixed with Myocrisin to make it injectable but is currently only used when all other methods fail due to the side effects suffered by some. However, the use of gold is constantly being worked on in the area of medicine to improve it and to reap its health giving properties. It's most recent debut has been in the search for a cure for HIV and cancer and, while not a cure, it is helping.
Platinum is normally used in the treatment of cancer and while it destroys cancer cells it also destroys healthy cells around it. Gold can be better directed towards the tumour, minimising damage in other parts. Gold nanoshells are being wrapped around silica and injected into the body. They will accumulate in the tumour and then illuminated with a laser. The gold nanoshells then convert the light to heat which destroys the tumour.
As far as HIV is concerned, when long term drugs are beginning to fail, gold can give them a new lease of life and assist the body's immune system in fighting the spread of the disease.
Scientists say that 'gold appears to slow down collagen depletion and the breakdown of elastin to prevent sagging skin'. I wish they had told me this before I got pregnant, I would have bathed in the stuff! They claim it 'stimulates cellular growth of the deepest layer of skin to regenerate healthy, firm skin cells and provide a tightening effect'. If this is true then they may be on to something but it has long been proved that it's the breakdown of the lower layers of skin tissue that cause the dimpling effect of cellulite.
One drastic method involves laying a fine network of gold thread beneath the skin. It triggers production of collagen and elastin while new blood vessels appear and skin becomes firmer and thicker with a better blood supply. This effect can last for up to ten years.
Now all I need is a rich husband to pay the 1,500 pounds for each of the three areas that are treated on the face and I'll be smiling - well, maybe after a few weeks anyway!
Health expert Catherine Harvey looks at the use of gold in surgery to reduce the rik of infections and thus reducing private medical insurance premiums.