Diabetic Wounds Receive Help From Maggots
A new study has shown the therapeutic benefits that can be derived from an unlikely source- maggots. According to the research, maggots are being used to help treat difficult wounds of diabetics.
The study focused on 37 individuals with type 2 diabetes, who had all suffered from artery disease. They had left them with poor circulation and wounds that were not healing properly due to their disease. As a result, dead tissue and infections had developed.
Researchers placed between 50 and 100 maggots on their wounds. The maggots were left in place for several days at a time and then replaced with new ones. This process, which is known as debridement, was repeated several times.
The common method for treating these types of wounds is to either use a scalpel to remove the tissue or to introduce enzymes into the body.
Maggots are unique in that they feed on dead and infected tissue. But in order to ingest it, they must first secrete a substance that partially dissolves the tissue so that it can be easily ingested. A positive side effect was that this also appeared to help in developing connective tissue, which is necessary in the healing process. Scientists believe that certain components in the maggot's secretion promote the formation of connective tissue.
One of the researchers of the study, Lawrence Eron, commented on this rather unorthodox method to promote healing.
“Maggot debridement treatment is overwhelmingly effective,” said Eron. “After just one treatment these wounds are looking better.”
Unfortunately, not all participants shared in the positive results. For this reason, researchers have not yet recognized this treatment as a viable option.
The stud was presented at the told delegates here at the 51st Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) by Lawrence Eron, MD, infectious disease consultant at Kaiser Moanalua Medical Center and associate professor of medicine at the John A. Burns School of Medicine of the University of Hawaii in Honolulu.