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Featured Articles

  • February 20, 2019

    Biofilm Analysis: Tools and Techniques

    Biofilms are found in many different settings, providing advantages in industry and disadvantages in human health. As these structures are so complex and found in many different environments, there are lots of different tools and techniques used to monitor and analyze them. Read More

    New Test that Detects Sepsis in Minutes Could Save Thousands of Lives 

    Sepsis kills around 52,000 people a year - that's more than breast, bowel and prostate cancer combined. It currently takes up to 72 hours to diagnose the killer condition. Sepsis occurs when an infection - such as blood poisoning - sparks a violent immune response causing the body to attack its own organs. If treated quickly it can be stopped. But it is notoriously difficult to diagnose. Now experts at Strathclyde University have developed a new low-cost test that identifies a key protein in the blood. It is made by the immune system and high levels are a strong indicator of sepsis.  Read More

    Blocking Inflammatory Pathway Reduces Blisters in EB Simplex Generalized Severe Patients

    A specific class of T cells – called Th17 cells — may drive inflammation in patients with epidermolysis bullosa simplex (EBS) generalized severe, and targeting these inflammatory pathways might lessen blistering in these patients. The study, “Epidermolysis bullosa simplex generalized severe induces a T helper 17 response and is improved by apremilast treatment,” was published in the British Journal of Dermatology. Read More

    Hill-Rom’s New Connectable Bed to Work for Patients and Caregivers

    Hill-Rom has brought a new bed and therapy mattress to the UK market which is designed to drive patient safety and improve patient outcomes while also supporting caregivers in their jobs. The HR900 Accella bed aims to aid NHS nurses by simplifying day-to-day tasks including the weighing and early mobilisation of patients. The product brings together technology and design to enhance caregiver workflow, improving safety and allowing them to spend more time on face to face patient care. Read More

  • February 13, 2019

    Study Cites Factors Linked with Increased Reoperation After Above-Knee Amputation

    There is an increased chance for unplanned reoperation in patients who underwent above-knee amputation if they had prior revascularization, multiple indications for amputation and postoperative wound complications, according to a recently published study. Researchers performed a retrospective review of 155 patients who underwent a total of 185 above-knee amputations. Data on standard demographics, comorbidities, perioperative data and postoperative data were collected. Investigators also calculated Pearson x2 tests, Fisher exact tests and logistic regression models. Read More

    Ketoprofen 'A Huge Step Forward' for Treatment of Lymphedema Symptoms 

    The anti-inflammatory drug ketoprofen appeared to effectively treat lymphedema symptoms and ease the burden of care, according to study results. “Ketoprofen restores the health and elasticity of the skin. ... I believe it will reduce recurrent infection [and] can also reduce swelling,” Stanley G. Rockson, MD, professor of cardiovascular medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine, said in a press release. “This new treatment does not cure lymphedema, but our studies show it has the capacity to make the illness more livable and more workable.” Read More

    Patients with IBD Receive Suboptimal Preventive Care Consultations  

    Despite existing guidelines for preventive care in patients with inflammatory bowel disease, providers fell short of expectations in consultations at a tertiary care center, according to a presenter at the Crohn’s & Colitis Congress. “Many of our IBD patients are at higher risk of things like infections, specific malignancies, metabolic bone disease and mental health disorders not only as a product of the disease itself, but also the therapies employed. What’s important to remember about these is many of them are preventable,” Amanda Lynn, MD, a gastroenterology fellow at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, said during her presentation. Read More

    UCI-Led Study Reveals How Blood Cells Help Wounds Heal Scar-Free

    New insights on circumventing a key obstacle on the road to anti-scarring treatment have been published by Maksim Plikus, an associate professor in developmental and cell biology at the UCI School of Biological Sciences and colleagues in Nature Communications. The research team discovered that the natural scar-free skin repair process relies partially on assistance from circulating blood cells. The results point the way toward possible treatments for scar-free wound healing that target the body's own blood cells. Read More

  • February 5, 2019

    Can UV-C Air Decontamination Cut Periprosthetic Join Infection?

    Can an air decontamination system effectively reduce periprosthetic joint infections (PJI) by attacking airborne bacterial onslaughts? A team of Tennessee-based researchers designed a retrospective observational study to try to answer that question. Their study, “The Impact of Supplemental Intraoperative Air Decontamination on the Outcome of Total Joint Arthroplasty: A Pilot Analysis,” appears in the December 7, 2018 edition of The Journal of Arthroplasty. Co-author Charles Edminston, Jr., Ph.D., Emeritus Professor of Surgery, Medical College of Wisconsin and Professor, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee, told OTW, “We undertook this work because of our institutional concern for reducing the risk of total joint infection which is responsible for significant patient morbidity and potential mortality in high risk patients.” Read More

    Potential Remains for Bacteriophage Therapy, Despite Failure of Burn Infection Trial

    Newly published research finds both potential and problems with the concept of using bacteriophages to treat infected burn wounds. Investigators in France recently evaluated whether a cocktail of bacteriophages might be a suitable replacement for traditional therapies in patients whose burn wounds were infected with Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Wound infections are a leading cause of sepsis in burn victims, but the bacteria are often resistant to multiple drugs. The use of bacteriophages—natural bacterial viruses—has been suggested as a way to counter the problem of drug resistance. Read More

    How to Cut 1 Hospital Day in Revision TKA/THA Cases 

    Surgeons from Florida have come up with some specific suggestions as to how their colleagues can improve treatment metrics for arthroplasty revision patients. Their work, “Bundled Payment “Creep”: Institutional Redesign for Primary Arthroplasty Positively Affects Revision Arthroplasty,” was published in the February 2019 edition of The Journal of Arthroplasty. Chancellor Gray, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon at the University of Florida College of Medicine in Gainesville and co-author on the work, told OTW, “We found that the overall environment and culture of care in our health system was improving, favoring increased value for our total joint arthroplasty [TJA] patients, in the wake of our Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CJR) inspired redesign of our total joint program." Read More

    Thermal Imaging Offers Better Way to Assess Burns

    Burns cause approximately 180,00 deaths every year. A new method may offer a better way to predict the best treatment. When a patient arrives at the emergency room with a burn, doctors do a clinical inspection to assess both the severity of the lesion in relation to the affected area of the body and the injury’s depth (first, second or third-degree burns). The surgical team then makes a decision—based on this assessment and other considerations including bleeding and the extent of the damage—on how best to manage the patient’s care. However, because a wound can change in the days following the initial injury, using clinical inspection alone is inaccurate in 30 to 50 percent of cases. Read More

  • January 23, 2019

    Vaping Slows Wound Healing Just as Much as Smoking

    “If you’re using electronic cigarettes, or ‘vaping,’ instead of smoking cigarettes, you’re fooling yourself if you think it’s a healthier option,” with regard to wound healing, says Jeffrey Spiegel, a Boston University School of Medicine professor of otolaryngology, head and neck surgery, and chief of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Boston Medical Center. Spiegel is the senior author on a new study, published October 18, 2018, in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery, that found that electronic cigarettes have virtually the same negative consequences for wound healing as traditional cigarettes. Although electronic cigarettes or “e-cigarettes” have been marketed as a safer alternative to cigarettes, Spiegel says those claims are largely lacking in scientific data. Read More

    New Material Could Drive Wound Healing

    Imperial researchers have developed a new bioinspired material that interacts with surrounding tissues to promote healing. Materials are widely used to help heal wounds: Collagen sponges help treat burns and pressure sores, and scaffold-like implants are used to repair broken bones. However, the process of tissue repair changes over time, so scientists are looking to biomaterials that interact with tissues as healing takes place.  Read More

    Antimicrobial Peptides: The Battle Against Multidrug Resistant 

    Antimicrobial peptides play a key role in the innate immunity of all living beings and are bringing new hope in the battle against the escalation of multidrug resistant microbes. The Gomes team looks at new ways to make these peptides useful to fight infections. The Gomes Lab is strongly motivated towards the development of peptide-based approaches against infectious diseases, from both the medicinal chemistry and the biomedical perspectives, for which it has established strong collaborations with groups having complementary skills while sharing this common interest. Peptide-based research by the Gomes team focuses on two main topics: peptide and peptidomimetic derivatives of antimalarial drugs and, more recently, antimicrobial peptides (AMP) and antimicrobial peptides-based materials and formulations for the management of bone and skin infections. Read More

    Scientists Grow Human Blood Vessels from Stem Cells in a Dish

    Scientists say, for the first time, they have grown human blood vessels from scratch in the lab that look and behave like the ones in our bodies. "The structure looks the same and the main genes which are expressed in our bodies and in these capillaries are very, very similar," said Josef Penninger, senior author of the new research published last week in the journal Nature. Read More

  • January 16, 2019

    Traction Forces Release Growth Factors from Cells to Heal Wounds

    Molecules known as traction-force activated payloads (TrAPs) made from strands of DNA containing different chemical groups might be used to help heal wounds, according to new experiments by researchers at Imperial College London. The new technology may lead to the development of a new generation of materials that interact with damaged tissues to constructively promote the process of repair. There are many examples of materials that are routinely employed to help heal wounds. These include collagen sponges that treat burns and scaffold-like implants that repair bones. “These materials act as passive bystanders, however, during tissue repair whereas wound healing is a highly dynamic, highly coordinated process involving many different cells over a period of time,” explains Ben Almquist, who led this research study. “TrAPs may provide the opportunity to design materials that ‘talk’ with these different cells in different ways and at different times to stimulate tissue repair processes.” Read More

    Using Light to Stop Itch Could Provide Relief From Skin Diseases

    Scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Rome have used light to stop itch — at best an annoyance and at worst an uncomfortable chronic symptom — in mice. They used NIR light to activate a phototoxic agent that selectively targets itch-sensing cells, which are located in the upper surface of the skin. When the agent is injected into a mouse’s affected skin area and the area is illuminated with the NIR light, the itch-sensing cells withdraw from the skin, reducing itch-associated behaviors in the mouse and allowing the skin to heal. The researchers said that the effect of the treatment can last several months.  Read More

    Balance of Biomolecular Signals Stimulates Healing by Setting Skin Cells Into Motion

    Balance of Biomolecular Signals Stimulates Healing by Setting Skin Cells Into Motion Stained images of human skin 72 hours after wounding. (left) A control wound treated with PBS, (right) a wound treated with spermine. Credit: A*STAR Skin Research Institute of SingaporeAfter a flesh wound, skin cells march forward to close the gap and repair the injury. Findings from a team led by Leah Vardy at A*STAR's Skin Research Institute of Singapore now demonstrate how a carefully regulated set of molecular cues helps coordinate this healing migration. Vardy was particularly interested in a trio of organic molecules known as polyamines, which play a role in cellular proliferation. "They are well studied in cancer, but much less is known about how changes in their levels can drive normal cellular behavioural changes," says Vardy. An enzyme called AMD1 facilitates the conversion of one polyamine, putrescine, into two other polyamines, spermidine and spermine.  Read More

    What is LED Therapy?

    LEDs or light emitting diodes are semiconductor devices that release light, of different wavelengths, when an electric current passes through. LED phototherapy is a non-invasive and non-thermal procedure, involving the use of LEDs for a range of medical and aesthetic uses. LED therapy has been employed to treat a multitude of skin conditions, such as acne vulgaris, psoriasis, keratosis, precancerous tissue and healing of wounds. It is also a popular method for skin rejuvenation, and is widely used by practicing dermatologists. LED phototherapy can be used as a stand-alone therapy or it can be combined with other therapies like peels and micro-needling to combat a variety of skin conditions. Read More

  • January 8, 2019

    Mortality in Patients with Diabetic Foot Ulcer: A retrospective study of 513 cases from a single Centre in the Northern Territory of Australia

    In this study, researchers assessed mortality outcomes in Australian patients with diabetic foot ulcers (DFU), a common problem in longstanding diabetes. Between January 2003 and June 2015, they included all patients with DFU presenting for the first time to the Multi-Disciplinary Foot Clinic (MDFC) at Royal Darwin Hospital, Northern Territory Australia. Read More

    Hand Hygiene in the Operating Room: Halting the Spread of Staph Infections

    In 2014, approximately 14.2 million inpatient operations were performed in U.S. hospitals. A survey of healthcare-associated infection (HAI) prevalence, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control, revealed an estimated 157,500 surgical site infections associated with inpatient surgeries in 2011. Although advances have been made in infection control practices, surgical site infections remain an alarming cause of morbidity, prolonged hospitalization, and death. In fact, these infections are associated with a mortality rate of 3 percent, and 75 percent of deaths are directly attributable to these infections. Read More

    Hill-Rom Expands Digital Health Capabilities In New Global Collaboration With Microsoft

    Hill-Rom (NYSE: HRC), a global medical technology company, announced today a collaboration with Microsoft to bring advanced, actionable point-of-care data and solutions to caregivers and healthcare provider organizations.    Read More

    Lymphedema Treatment Starts With Education

    To best manage lymphedema, patients must first have an understanding of their disease, no matter what its type, according to Sherry Hite, an occupational therapy lead in the Department of Rehabilitation Services at City of Hope in Duarte, California. At the 11th annual Joining FORCEs Against Hereditary Cancer conference in San Diego, California, Hite discussed the treatment of lymphedema. Education plays a key role, she said: “Education needs to start early on and across disease groups that are [affected] by lymphedema.” There are 2 types of lymphedema: primary, which is less common and arises from developmental abnormalities of the lymphatic system, and secondary, the type seen in patients with cancer as it arises from trauma to the lymphatic system. Secondary lymphedema can be a result of surgery, radiation, cancer itself, obesity, or infection. Read More