Bacteria on skin may affect how wounds heal
A thin layer of bacteria and other microorganisms living on human skin may affect how people heal from chronic wounds, according to a new study.
Scientists from the University of Manchester in the U.K. wanted to see why chronic wounds—which affect about 1 in 20 elderly people as a result of diabetes or poor blood circulation—heal on some people but not others. The researchers first compared the skin bacteria from people whose chronic wounds had healed with those whose wounds had not healed. They found bacterial differences between the two groups, suggesting there may be identifiable biomarkers in people whose wounds don't heal.
Taking the study a step further, the researchers then used mice to try to identify causes of the bacterial differences. They found that the mice with a certain genetic mutation contained more harmful skin bacteria and healed more slowly than mice without the genetic mutation.
The researchers said that their findings suggest that skin bacteria can directly affect humans’ ability to heal. They said that learning more about skin bacteria may help doctors decide on treatments that attack only harmful bacteria.