I've talked in past articles about biofilms. These are colonies of bacteria throughout the gastrointestinal tract that are surrounded by a protective cage. This cage prevents antibiotics from reaching and destroying the bacteria. Meanwhile, the pathogenic bacteria that form biofilms "talk" and strategize amongst themselves, finding ways to stay alive. This is why they're able to develop antibiotic resistance. But now we're learning that biofilms are not just in the GI tract.
Scientists have found two of them combined in another part of the body - the ears. The condition is otitis media (OM). While it strikes children more often than adults, if the infection persists, it can become chronic in adults as well. OM is the number one cause of new antibiotic prescriptions to children. But it often lasts a long time and is resistant to the antibiotics. When OM recurs or is difficult to eradicate, chances are biofilms are the root cause.
Ear infections are hard to get rid of because they often occur when multiple species of bacteria begin talking. In order to clear up the infection, you often have to remove the communication between the different types of bacteria. Researchers from Wake Forest University examined the communication patterns and they figured out how they can use these patterns to fight OM.
First, the researchers found two specific bacteria were frequently present in these types of infections. Then they examined the relationship between the two to find that a chemical called the H. influenzae secreted autoinducer-2 was involved in their communication process.
They determined that this chemical helps the bacteria, and therefore the infection, persist through its signaling process. Knock out this chemical, and you make the bacteria much more vulnerable. It may even be possible to vaccinate against this chemical. More research is necessary, but scientists now have a target to focus on.
Biofilms are difficult to eradicate. Using different antibiotics is the traditional solution, but this often leads to antibiotic resistance. If you or anyone you know has chronic ear infections, have their doctor contact Dr. Stephen Olmstead, MD, at Klaire Laboratories (888-488-2488). He cannot speak with you directly, but he will assist doctors in finding a non-antibiotic solution.
Dr. Olmstead has developed gastrointestinal anti-biofilm enzyme formulas called InterFase and InterFase Plus that break through biofilms' protective cages and destroy the biofilms. You can find these online and by calling the number above. These might be very helpful in fighting these persistent ear infections.
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Your voice of reason in Women's Health,
Dr. Janet Zand
ScienceDaily, July 6, 2010.