Warfarin and Creativity

One of the effects of the internet are the bizarre extremes people go to in order to get attention. I’ve encountered such extremes as people who superglue their nostrils and consume strange substances. I suppose they grew tired of blending any object they could find or seeing what happens when they steam roller common items.


Image courtesy of: Peter Kaminski

Perhaps future generations will be amazed at what we do, finding it bizarre as well. Years ago, if someone would’ve told me that one day, old people would eat rat poison for health reasons, I would have said that you have ‘lost it’. The reality is that warfarin, which is a common blood thinner was at one time used as a rodentcide.

Even the discovery of this substance is intriguing. Ranchers noticed bleeding problems in cows that ate excessive amounts of clover. They wondered what was causing their bleeding. On investigation, they discovered a compound in the clover that impacted clotting and bleeding.

Since that substance was odorless, some researchers began experimenting with it, discovering it was a potent rodentcide.

It was when a creative physician gave weakened doses to some patients and noticed that warfarin cut the risk of stroke in a population by 2/3 that the medical community began rethinking warfarin. They began looking at the substance in terms of ways it can be useful. That led to versions of it being used in treating atrial fibrillation.

Who knew? Who would have ever thought of such a creative use for this chemical compound?

There are times that thinking outside of the box and challenging the bizarre yields some amazing discoveries. One of the eldercare experts I interviewed in the Family Caregiver SUmmit was Dr. Bob Uslander. While running a hospice, he brought in services like massage therapy and other interventions designed to help improve the quality of life with terminal patients.

One of the surprises he encountered was that many of the patients labeled as terminal, began improving. They were moving out of hospice and returning to their homes. Who would have ever imagined bringing in massage therapy to terminal elderly patients? Dr. Bob did and it made a world of difference. Listening to his interview will inspire you as well.

Thinking creatively will help you see caregiving in new ways. Those new ways will help you see new ways of solving problems and helping the elderly.

Best Wishes,

Jeff