Sunday, April 7, 2013

New Science Shows How Maggots Heal Wounds

New Science Shows How Maggots Heal Wounds:
From ancient times until the advent of antibiotics, physicians used maggots to help clean injuries and prevent infection. Because the maggots feed solely on dead flesh, doctors did not have to worry about bugs feasting on healthy tissue. The arrival of antibiotics relegated medical maggots to an artifact of an earlier era.
Widespread antibiotic resistance, however, rekindled interest in the use of medical maggots, and in 2004 the fda approved them as a valid “medical device.” Today maggot providers raise the larvae from sterilized fly eggs and place them in tea bag–like packages that physicians apply directly to wounds. (The packages prevent the maggots from crawling off and completing their maturation into adult flies.) As more physicians have turned to the insects to treat wounds, scientists have uncovered the two-pronged process by which maggots work their magic.