Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Could plain soap and probiotics beat hospital bugs?

01.11.2005


Doctors might be better off washing their hands with yoghurt instead of relying on antiseptic soap-scrubbing, according to a new discussion paper by a UCL (University College London) researcher.

Scientists should investigate whether saturating the skin with ‘good’ bacteria would offer better protection against deadly germs, says the paper. Professor Mark Spigelman, of the UCL Centre for Infectious Diseases and International Health, is calling for a study to be set up in hospital units in which antibiotics would be banned, to explore alternative health protection measures against MRSA.

In the paper, published in the November issue of Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons, Professor Spigelman says the time has come to re-evaluate the concept of using antibiotics and scrubbing hands and wounds with antiseptic soaps. His paper outlines a six-point proposal to set up surgical hospitals which would be antibiotic-free and would instead comply with the novel standard practices being investigated.



Professor Mark Spigelman says: “Inappropriate use of antibiotics remains a major problem, despite our ever-growing understanding of how bacteria behave. For example, any student who has grown bacteria in a lab will know that they generally do not grow on top of one another. So when we wash our hands, we could actually be killing off harmless commensals to the extent that we leave space for other bacteria, such as MRSA strains, to settle.

“Perhaps we should be thinking about using probiotics and even dipping our hands after thorough washing into a solution which contains harmless bacteria, which could then colonise our skin and prevent pathogenic bacteria from settling on it.

“It must be remembered that after almost 40 years, MRSA has not become widespread except in hospitals where we use the most advanced antibiotics and most rigorous antiseptic measures. Why is this? More of the same does not seem to be working – new antibiotics and antibacterial soaps have not stopped MRSA.

“The idea may sound absurd, but I believe that a probiotic cleaning procedure is an avenue worth exploring. To overcome the current epidemic of MRSA and other bacteria, we should aim to set up a handful of hospitals where the use of antibiotics would be banned, and any patients who needed them would be transferred to an antibiotic-using hospital. Doctors from these hospitals would not be allowed to enter hospitals which use antibiotics.

“At the same time we could trial the benefits of using ‘good’ bacteria to saturate the skin on doctors’ hands and even patients’ wounds prior to surgery, to see if this would prevent the settling of pathogenic, antibiotic-resistant bacteria. For instance, a surgeon who has spent the morning repeatedly scrubbing his or her hands in an operating theatre may well have got rid of many harmless skin commensals. When the surgeon then goes to the wards, the more virulent bacteria may settle into the areas left vacant. As a first step, the surgeon could use probiotics to try and prevent this sequence of events, for example by dipping their hands into a probiotic substance such as yoghurt.”

Judith H Moore | alfa
Further information:
http://www.ucl.ac.uk

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Stiffness matters
22.02.2018 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht Separate brain systems cooperate during learning, study finds
22.02.2018 | Brown University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stiffness matters

22.02.2018 | Life Sciences

Magnetic field traces gas and dust swirling around supermassive black hole

22.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

First evidence of surprising ocean warming around Galápagos corals

22.02.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>