Friday December 6, 2019

Researchers Develop Way to Fight against Bacterial Infections using Electricity

Bacterial biofilms are thin, slimy films of bacteria that form on some wounds, including burns or post-surgical infections, as well as after a medical device is placed in the body

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bacterial infections
Bacterial biofilms are thin, slimy films of bacteria that form on some wounds, including burns or post-surgical infections, as well as after a medical device is placed in the body. Pixabay

Amid growing antibiotic resistance, Indian-origin researchers have developed a way to charge up the fight against bacterial infections using electricity.

The electric field-based dressing can not only disrupt biofilm infection, it can also prevent such infections from forming in the future, said the study published in the journal Annals of Surgery.

Bacterial biofilms are thin, slimy films of bacteria that form on some wounds, including burns or post-surgical infections, as well as after a medical device is placed in the body.

bacterial infections
Amid growing antibiotic resistance, Indian-origin researchers have developed a way to charge up the fight against bacterial infections using electricity. Pixabay

These bacteria generate their own electricity, using their own electric fields to communicate and form the biofilm, which makes them more hostile and difficult to treat.

The dressing electrochemically self-generates 1 volt of electricity upon contact with body fluids such as wound fluid or blood, which is not enough to hurt or electrocute the patient, said the study.

Work conducted at the Indiana University School of Medicine by Chandan Sen and and Sashwati Roy led to the development of the dressing, Indiana University said in a statement on Friday.

bacterial infections
Bacterial biofilms are thin, slimy films of bacteria that form on some wounds, including burns or post-surgical infections, as well as after a medical device is placed in the body. Pixabay

They discovered the dressing is not only successful in fighting the bacteria on its own, but when combined with other medications can make them even more effective.

The researchers believe that the discovery has the potential to create significant changes in the way physicians treat patients with bacterial infections which are resistant to antibiotics.

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“This shows for the first time that bacterial biofilm can be disrupted by using an electroceutical dressing,” said Chandan Sen, Director of the Indiana Center for Regenerative Medicine and Engineering.

“This has implications across surgery as biofilm presence can lead to many complications in successful surgical outcomes,” Sen added. (IANS)

Next Story

Make-up Products Contain Dangerous Bacteria: Study

Life-threatening bacteria found in Make-up products

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Make-up products
Our daily make-up products are contaminated with dangerous superbugs. Pixabay

The vast majority of in-use make-up products such as beauty blenders, mascara and lip gloss are contaminated with potentially life threatening superbugs, researchers have warned.

“Make-up products used every day by millions of people in the UK are contaminated with potentially deadly bugs, such as E.coli and Staphylococci, because most are not being cleaned and are used far beyond their expiry dates,” said study lead author Amreen Bashir from Aston University in the US.

According to the study published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology, bacteria that can cause illnesses ranging from skin infections to blood poisoning if used near eyes, mouth or cuts or grazes were found in nine out of ten of the products.

This risk is amplified in immunocompromised people who are more likely to contract infections from opportunistic bacteria.

The relatively new beauty blenders – sponges used to apply skin foundation products – were found to have the highest levels of potentially harmful bacteria – with the vast majority (93 per cent) not having ever been cleaned, despite more than two thirds (64 per cent) being dropped on the floor at some point during use.

The research looked at beauty blender products – hugely popular make-up sponges used to blend foundation and contouring on the face.

Make-up products hygiene
The make-up products are contaminated by bacteria due to poor hygiene. Pixabay

Often endorsed by celebrities, these sponges are estimated to have sold over 6.5 million worldwide.

The researchers found these products are particularly susceptible to contamination as they are often left damp after use, which creates an ideal breeding ground for harmful bacteria.

“Consumers’ poor hygiene practices when it comes to using make-up, especially beauty blenders, is very worrying when you consider that we found bacteria such as E.coli – which is linked with faecal contamination – breeding on the products we tested,” Bashir said.

The findings reveal that consumers are unwittingly putting themselves at risk, and that manufacturers and regulatory bodies should do more to protect their customers by making expiry dates and cleaning requirements more prominent on packaging.

EU guidance holds make-up brands to strict hygiene standards of manufacture and states that E.coli in particular should not be found in any concentration in new cosmetic products.

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However, there is currently limited consumer protection around the risks of contaminating products while in use.

According to the study, post-Brexit, UK consumers could be at even greater risk as they will no longer be protected by EU regulations and could find themselves purchasing more beauty products from the US – for example – where there are no regulatory requirements to put expiry dates on make-up packaging at all. (IANS)