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Medicinal Maggots

You may have seen that delightful scene in Gladiator when one of the slave guys uses maggots to clean Russell Crowe’s character’s wound. It may seem the stuff of somebody's deranged imagination, but it's not. Maggots, or fly larva, have been used to clean wounds since ancient times. The way it works is that the little larva wriggle around in the wound, eating away the dead skin and bacteria that lead to infection. After a while, hopefully once treatment is over, the maggots turn into flies and, well, fly away. Gruesome stuff, but highly effective according to researchers at the University of Manchester in England who put maggots to the test. In their study, whose abstract can be found here, the doctors found that maggots are highly effective in stemming MRSA infections, which is a huge concern in hospitals. The patients who were tested suffered from ulcers on their toes due to complications from diabetes, but the researchers think that maggots can be used to treat almost any other open wound on the body where the risk of infection is high.

"Larval therapy: a novel treatment in eliminating methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus from diabetic foot ulcers (abstract)," February 2007, Diabetes Care.
"Maggots Rid Patients Of Antibiotic-resistant Infection, MRSA," May 5, 2007, Science Daily . WARNING: In this link, there's a particularly disgusting up-close photo showing maggot therapy on an open wound located a patient's toe.


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