Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center researchers seeking a successful treatment for traumatic brain injury have found that the size and extent of damaged tissue can be reduced by using a new device to prevent cell death. The research, the focus of a three-year, $1.5 million study funded by the Department of Defense, was recently published in the journal Neurosurgery. The technology, tested in rats, is called mechanical tissue resuscitation (MTR) and uses negative pressure to create an environment that fosters cell survival. Louis C. Argenta, M.D., and Michael Morykwas, Ph.D., professors in the Department of Plastic Surgery and Reconstructive Surgery, and a multidisciplinary team of colleagues at Wake Forest Baptist, have more than 15 years of experience working with negative pressure devices to successfully treat wounds and burns.
Surgeons at the Buncke Clinic at California Pacific Medical Center, part of the Sutter Health network, successfully performed an extremely rare surgery reattaching the forehead and scalp of a 22-year-old Stockton woman. This type of surgery has only been successfully performed a few times in the world. The patient, Sonya Dominguez, was at her workplace when her hair was caught in machinery. Dominguez was airlifted to CPMC, via helicopter, where Buncke Clinical surgeons performed the 7 hour surgery using a technique called microsurgery. This technique allowed the surgeons to repair small nerves and blood vessels with sutures thinner than human hair. Lead surgeons on the procedure, Dr. Brian Parrett and Dr. Bauback Safa, explained: "By repairing six blood vessels with the microscope as an aid, we were able to successfully restore the blood supply and replant the completely amputated forehead and scalp.
The test, developed at the University of Edinburgh in collaboration with NHS Lothian, works by taking swabs from a wound or sores. These are then analysed using a strip with electrical sensors that can detect MRSA. Researchers currently process the swab samples in the laboratory to increase the amount of bacteria present before testing them. They hope to avoid the need for this in the future by improving the strip's sensitivity. Improving the strip's sensitivity would enable scientists to develop a test that could be used outside the laboratory, for example in GP practices or people's homes. Detecting bacteria more quickly than compared to conventional tests would also enable more effective drugs to be given to the patient straight away. Currently, laboratory tests to confirm whether MRSA is present in a wound can take a full day using conventional techniques.
A review in the April issue of the Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin (DTB) shows that there is little evidence that over-the-counter remedies for ordinary insect bites indeed work and that in most incidents, no treatment actually works. In the UK, insects like mosquitoes, midges, flies, fleas and bedbugs are the most common bugs that bite their victims to feast on their blood, however, the saliva they inject can cause a reaction. Whilst most people have mild reactions to insect bites that can be treated with over-the-counter cures to stop itching, pain and swelling, scratching bites can result in secondary problems, which in turn could lead to infection, eczema flare-up, or, in the most severe cases to anaphylactic shock. The DTB states that the more serious effects from insect bites should definitely be treated appropriately.
A UK review in the April Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin (DTB) says there is scant evidence that over-the-counter remedies for simple insect bites work, suggesting that in most cases, no treatment at all is enough. The DTB concludes: "There is little evidence for the efficacy of treatments for simple insect bites. The symptoms are often self limiting and in many cases, no treatment may be needed." Most of the insect bites inflicted on people in the UK are from midges, mosquitoes, flies, fleas and bedbugs, looking for a blood meal. When they bite, these insects inject saliva into the wound, causing a reaction, such as itching and inflammation. Some bites can result in infection, an eczema flare-up, or anaphylactic shock. Clearly these reactions warrant appropriate treatment, says DTB, but that is not what their review is about: their beef is with the over-the-counter medications used to treat the vast majority of milder reactions: the itching, swelling, pain, and secondary problems that come from scratching.