Maggot Healers?


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I was trying to figure out what to post next for my blog post when I stumbled upon maggots helping heal a wound, like a burn or an ulcer. I started to wonder why the larvae of the flies help to make the wounds heel faster. To look at the answer to this I decided to check out National Geographic, and other sources to see if I could find out why and more importantly what happens when the maggots are applied. According to Ehow to see if I could find out the process from start to finish with these creepy little crawlers.      

corn-rootworm-larvae.jpg

   1)    Get a prescription to get the maggots. (Monarch Labs are the exclusive supplier of medical maggots, which require a prescription in the United States. These maggots are specially selected and disinfected in preparation to apply them to a wound with a special dressing)

      2)    Check with insurance (this may or may not be covered)

   3)    Apply the maggots (According to the Pam Mitchell who wrote Maggots' Miracles and Me, "Anybody can do it...I've [known] patients who do it themselves.")

      4)    Remove the dressing after 48 hours by loosening the dressing and pulling it back, and using a wet gauze to wipe the remaining maggots.

      5)    Double bag the maggots and discard as infectious waste.

      6)    Apply fresh maggots (this may take 2-3 days to clean the wound)

      7)    Repeat if necessary.

            We know that maggots clean the wounds but how does this happen. In order to find this out I decided to look at National Geographic first to see if I could see what causes these little crawlers to actually heal the wound. According to National Geographic article "Essence of Maggot" Ointment to Heal Wounds Faster?" by Matt Kaplan, "The secret, according to a new study, is in a fluid secreted by the maggots to help them consume decaying tissue".

What is this fluid though? In order to find out what kind of enzyme they produce I decided to look at Morgellons UK. According to the site, "Larvae produce a mixture of proteolytic enzymes, including collagenase, which breaks down the collagen in skin tissue to a semi-liquid form, which can then be absorbed and digested". So essentially they turn the dead skin into a semi-liquid form, then use their mandibles to get the semi-liquid up. According to this site some species of fly larvae speed up the

mqdefault.jpghealing process because of the "proteases present within larval secretions, that promote growth. This induces fibroblast migration into the wound space, facilitating tissue regeneration". 
   As nasty as this all sounds it looks like it does help. The video that I have attached shows that according to the doctors that were helping the patient in the video the larvae did do their job and help the wound. Here is the link to the Monarch Labs in case you want to find out more about these little healers.

Do not watch this video if you have a weak stomach.

4 Comments

OFten times people can overlook things that they think are bad for them when in reality they can have positive effects. Much like the medical maggots, another thing that many believe is bad for them but at the same time can have positive medical effects is marijuana. Many cancer patients and those with a variety of problems use marijuana in order t relieve them of their pain and help them with their condition. Now although maggots may not have as positive or serious affects to the point where they can help cancer patients , the point is many would never think something often looked as bad, could in fact have positive affects. In the future i think that more medical advances are going to be made using things that we perceive as bad in society such as maggots or marijuana. It would be interesting to see a blog written on other similar medical advances that many people would not think have positive affects but in fact do.

This was a very good blog but did you say exactly when this would be necessary? What are the alternative options to using maggots to help with healing? I understand it has proven to work and work effectively at that but I'm sure the general population would have this last on their list to help heal a wound. Has this been used in the United States?

This is where my love of television helps me out in the real world. On an episode of "Supernatural", an immortal doctor from way in the past would perform surgeries on people and would then use maggots to help keep the wounds clean. In the past, doctors and surgeons would use maggots to help eat away at the dead and decaying tissue in order to prevent infection.
What I was wondering was why maggot therapy had gone out of style and what caused it to come back. According to this article, maggot therapy went out of fashion because maggots were too expensive to find and antibiotics and penicillin were beginning to rise in hospitals. As infections began to become resistant to antibiotics, maggot therapy began to grow in popularity. In addition, maggots became easier to harvest and produce, making maggot therapy cheaper than ever before.

Nicholas, that would be cool to see maybe in the future we will see that. Michael, I personally would definitely be weary about letting maggots trying to heal me, and yes this has been used in the United States according to the article "Therapy May Assist in Wound Healing", Dr. Ronald Sherman, laboratory director and co-founder of Monarch Labs in Irvine, Calif. is the go-to guy for medical-grade maggots in the U.S.. The article then states, "Sherman supplies 2,000 facilities in the U.S. with medical maggots." So there are places in the United States that use medical maggots.
Lauren, I am not sure why it went out of style but i wonder which one is healthier, to pop the pills and use antibiotics or to just use maggots to heal the wound.

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