Biofilms and their Implications Regarding Treatment
A few weeks ago Joyce peeked my curiousity regarding biofilms, gallium and persistent infections.
It's an area that as I have delved further into over the past several weeks, I have come to realize has very important implications for the treatment of stealth infections such as CPN, mycoplasma and borrelia.
What follows is a synopsis from some of my personal research notes. Please don't consider it scientific fact as I didn't take the time to footnote but I did want to throw this topic out to the group for pondering and possible discussion.
Biofilms for those not familiar are the most common mode of bacterial growth in nature.
An easy explanation is that they represent colonies of bacteria, often including several life forms of that bacteria in a gelatinous type matrix (think jello). They also often include other types of bacteria, protozoa, fungi and algae that all band together to increase the odds of survival of the individual members. Sort of like bacterial cities or rather fortresses.
Some common examples that you might be familiar with would be the scum on a stagnant pond or the slimy feeling of rocks in streams, etc...
That slimy gelatinous matrix is what holds the bacteria together in a biofilm formation. It does so for many reasons.
First it acts as a shield for the cells within the biofilm protecting them from hostile substances such as disinfectants, detergents and antibiotics. The gel matrix literally making it tougher for the antibiotics to get to the bacteria.
Under certain conditions, the slimy matrix can even protect a biofilm/bacterial city enough that it can actually become fossilized. A recent article that I read on the melting polar ice caps indicated that scientists have concerns about biofilms of previously eradicated bacteria such as small pox resurfacing from the melting ice.
Second, the matrix acts as a communication system allowing the bacteria to share information amongst themselves thereby increasing their likelihood of survival.
Third, the gelatinous matrix allows at least some bacteria to share food and other life giving substances.
Interestingly enough, the same species of bacteria in a biofilm is often quiet different from free floating bacteria in the same species. For example mutated CPN in a biofilm might be harder to eradicate than CPN that is a free floating bacteria. This bacterial mutation is likely caused by the sharing of information, food and other life giving substances and it makes the bacteria much more harmful to human and animal health.
Biofilms, in addition to being found consistently throughout nature are also found in humans. They are implicated in catheter infections as well as other nosocomially acquired infections.
Here is a great slide presentation from Alan MacDonald, MD, a pathologist and researcher at a New York health system on the subject of biofilms. I highly recommend taking a gander. Several slides contain amazing photographs of bacteria and biofilms. Slide 19 in Dr. MacDonald's presentation even graphically depicts a biofilm and the issues surrounding antibiotic penetration.
For those with MS brain lesions, Dr. MacDonald's slide 52, shows an actual biofilm taken from a human brain .
Amazingly, one of the centers of excellent in biofilms is Montana State University (MSU).
Here's a quote from their website, "The word biofilm was coined in 1978 by Bill Costerton, former director of MSU's Center for Biofilm Engineering. In the 29 years since, biofilms have been blamed for causing billions of dollars of damage to U.S. industry by fouling pipes, contaminating products and damaging equipment.
Recently, interest in medical biofilms has exploded. The National Institutes of Health now estimates that nearly 80 percent of all human infections -- everything from cystic fibrosis, to dental plaque, to chronic wounds -- are biofilm based. "
So I don't get caught in the spam filter, I will follow up with another attachment.