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Picture of the Day

Clay fights MRSA, other 'superbugs' in wounds

The use of mud or wet clay as a topical skin treatment, or poultice, is a common practice in many cultures. In fact, the concept of using mud as medicine goes back to the earliest times. Now, National Science Foundation-funded researchers have found that one type of clay, Oregon blue clay, may help fight disease-causing bacteria in wounds, including treatment-resistant bacteria. The scientists identified certain clays that kill bacteria, including many drug-resistant pathogens. The results showed that these clays also diminish populations of bacterial biofilms, as well as bacteria common in wounds that are more resistant to drugs. Biofilms occur when bacteria attach to surfaces and develop a film or protective coating, making them relatively resistant to antibiotics. The biofilms appear in two-thirds of the infections seen by health care providers. The clay suspension was effective against several bacteria in their biofilm states. The research is preliminary, and the scientists caution that only one concentration of the clay suspension was tested. They also say that not all types of clay are beneficial.

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