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Coming dissertations at Uppsala university

  • Languages of healing : Theories, practice and terminology within Eastern Turki medicine in the late 19th and early 20th centuries Author: Patrick Hällzon Link: Publication date: 2022-01-04 14:09

    Medical practices in Eastern Turkestan consisted of a number of components that are not easily identifiable, constituting a highly pluralistic medical field defined by several overlapping traditions, of which Graeco-Islamic medicine played one part while the others, including Western medicine, also played important and/or complementary roles. It can be defined as a diverse but still coherent medical tradition closely related to that of adjacent societies, especially Turkic and Muslim, but also shaped by its own specific historical and cultural context. Although there is plenty of source material available in the form of locally produced medical manuscripts, this field, especially with regard to Turkic sources, remains under-researched. This thesis examines how illness and health was understood and managed in Eastern Turkestan in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In order to reach a wider understanding of the field, it uses an interdisciplinary approach based on philological and Turkological tradition, as well as other disciplines such as medical anthropology. To obtain a broad interpretation, the research has been conducted using a combination of local sources, such as medical manuscripts and oral literature, and Western documentation in the form of travelogues and missionary reports. A closer examination reveals that the Eastern Turki medical manuscripts researched in this thesis are of a heterogeneous character in terms of both scope and content. Some are explicitly devoted to medicine, while others are of a more mixed nature, containing elements of poetry and aspects we can also find in folklore and local history. Many of the primary sources consulted mention personages connected to Greek philosophy and history, alongside famous personages within Muslim lore. There are also frequent references to religious matters, leading to the conclusion that all of these components constituted important elements of Turki medical lore. Besides discussing the characteristics of the texts on a broad level, the thesis contains a large section dedicated to materia medica discussing commonly used products in medicines, their preparation and usage. The thesis also discusses the wide range of medical professionals present in the area and the various types of treatment they offered. The Eastern Turki material demonstrates that people in Eastern Turkestan resorted to different strategies in their health-enhancing endeavors. A multitude of approaches existed to prevent illness, uncover its cause, and treat it most effectively. While some therapies in Eastern Turkestan were largely based on humoral concepts, including dietary prescriptions, massage, bloodletting, venesection, diuresis and so forth, great emphasis was also placed on the efficacy of the Qur’an, the utilization of different prayers and amulets, soothsaying and pilgrimage to holy shrines.

  • Studies of Regulatory T cells with Implications for Clinical Applications Author: Marcus Bergström Link: Publication date: 2022-01-04 07:13

    Regulatory T cells (Tregs) are vital for regulating immune homeostasis and for preventing immunopathology. The immunosuppressive functions of Tregs have raised hope for their potential use in clinical applications. This thesis investigates features of Treg that may be relevant for their use in clinical applications and includes the first-in-man study of Treg infusion in clinical islet transplantation. In paper I we explored the immunological profile of haemodialysis patients and young healthy individuals; haemodialysis patients are a prospective target for adoptive Treg therapy following kidney transplantation. Flowcytometric gating strategies were analyzed to optimize the isolation of Tregs. We found that both groups presented a similar Treg profile, and sorting for CD25 in combination with CD127low was preferable in terms of Treg yield and purity. In paper II we compared the effects of mTOR inhibitors Azithromycin (AZM) and Rapamycin (RAP) on in vitro Tregs cultures, as compounds that improve the quality of Treg cultures are sought. While RAP can improve the purity of Treg expansions by suppressing the proliferation of non-Treg cells, the effects of AZM on Treg expansions had not been previously studied. We found that RAP induced a FoxP3+Helios + phenotype and increased suppressive function, but may also inhibit Treg expansion. In comparison, AZM promoted a FoxP3+ phenotype, but to a lesser extent than RAP and the AZM treated Tregs are possibly less suppressive. In Paper III we performed the first-in-man study of autologous Treg infusion in clinical allogenic pancreatic islet transplantation. Patients underwent leaukapheresis from which polyclonal Tregs were purified by magnetic-activated cell sorting (MACS) and cryopreserved until transplantation. The Tregs were thawed and co-infused with pancreatic islets in the portal vein. No negative effects were seen related to the Treg infusion, regardless of cell dose. This indicates the procedure is safe and feasible. Future efficacy studies can be performed based on these results, with aim of minimizing the need for chronic immunosuppressive medication in islet transplantation. In summary, the studies included in this thesis supports the development of clinical Treg applications.

  • Dispersal of ticks and their microorganisms by African-Western Palaearctic migratory birds Author: Tove Hoffman Link: Publication date: 2021-12-22 12:50

    In Europe, tick-borne diseases are the most widespread and common vector-borne diseases and their geographical distribution is increasing. The dispersal of ticks depends on the movements of their vertebrate hosts. Avian hosts are more likely to be involved in long-distance range expansion of ticks due to their migration pattern. Billions of birds in the African-Palaearctic migration system migrate biannually between breeding grounds in the Palaearctic and wintering grounds in Africa and thereby create natural links between Africa, Europe, and Asia. In this thesis the dispersal of ticks and their microorganisms by northbound migratory birds utilizing flyways in the African-Western Palaearctic region has been investigated and the association between bird ecology and tick taxon addressed. The results suggest that long-distance migratory birds with wintering regions in Africa are involved in northward dispersal of the tick species Hyalomma rufipes, a known vector or Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus, and that birds with an open or wetland habitat have more H. rufipes in comparison to birds with a winter habitat comprising forest and shrubs. The results also suggest a role for birds in the ecology of Alkhurma hemorrhagic fever virus, a hemorrhagic flavivirus, and a potential mechanism for dispersal of the virus to new regions, including Europe and Asia Minor. The results did not provide evidence for immature ticks of the Hyalomma marginatum complex and birds having a major role in the ecology and northward dispersal of tick-borne Anaplasma phagocytophilum, a zoonotic bacterium causing febrile illness in humans and domestic animals. However, the results give support to the idea of a divergent enzootic cycle of A. phagocytophilum involving birds as hosts. Finally, the results of this thesis suggest that H. rufipes do not serve as vectors or contribute to the transmission of the tularemia-causing bacterium Francisella tularensis and that migratory birds do not contribute to northward dispersal of F. tularensis-infected ticks. However, the results suggest that migratory birds contribute to northward dispersal of H. rufipes carrying both Francisella and spotted fever group Rickettsia species, including Francisella-like endosymbionts and Rickettsia aeschlimannii. In conclusion, this thesis helps to clarify the knowledge about the dispersal of ticks and the microorganisms they carry by northbound migrating birds in the African-Western Palaearctic region. Furthermore, it highlights the need of establishing surveillance programs for monitoring the risk of introduction and establishment of important exotic tick species, such as H. rufipes, and tick-borne pathogens in the Western Palaearctic.