Cardiology: More Blood, Less Fat

Dextran, says the Merck Index of Chemicals and Drugs, is "a term applied to carbohydrate slimes originating from sugar syrups, found in crystallizing tanks of sugar refineries." Thus described, dextran hardly sounds like anything for a doctor to prescribe. For years, however, it has been used as a readily available substitute for blood plasma to boost the volume of fluid in patients who are going into shock from loss of blood. Now a University of Maryland surgeon has reported that, quite by chance, he discovered a remarkable new use for the drug extracted from a slime:...

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