Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Bacteria on the Skin

Our skin is filled with bacteria from head to toe. Arecent study suggests that the bacteria living on our skin may actually influence how quickly a wound may heal. These new discoveries may help treat patients with chronic wounds (cuts or lesions that just never seem to heal), which affect about 1 in 20 elderly people. Researchers from the University of Manchester Healing Foundation Center says “It’s our hope that these insights could help lead to better treatments to promote wound healing that are based on sound biology”. Chronic wounds are a serious problem because they may even lead to diabetes, poor blood circulation or even result in a person being confined to a bed or wheelchair. 

The findings of bacteria in the gut have made it clear that not all bacteria cause harm and diseases, some bacteria are very beneficial to our health. In their recent study, the researchers compared the skin bacteria from people who heal and don't heal with chronic wounds. The results showed many different bacterial families, which suggests that there must be a bacteria that causes wounds to refuse to heal. The researchers also conducted a series of studies on mice to figure out why some wounds heal while others do not. They found that mice who lacked a single gene had a completely different array of skin microbiota. This made some bacteria harmful and slowed the mice's healing process. Researchers conclude that  "Presumably, the mice's defect in the ability to identify bacteria means that they aren't able to mount the right type of response". 

After these studies, the researchers concluded that there has to be link between skin microbiome and how we heal. This may help discover more treatments for people with chronic wounds. 

Posted by Amber Vien (Group C)


  1. It's very interesting to see and know that not all bacteria is bad for us. Cleanliness is a huge factor in our society today, but we all know that type of sanitation was not an influence in our evolutoinary upbringing. We had to deal with bugs, parasites, dirt, and most of all bacteria. Although lots of types of bacteria can harm us, many bacteria we NEED in order to support our immune and digestive systems. We have a symbiotic relationship with certain bacteria. Do you think in the future this reasoning could be used to help cure allergies or even diseases?

    -Nicole B

  2. Its interesting that genes influence bacteria on our outsides, as well as, our insides. Goes to show you that we have deeper symbiotic relationships with bacteria than we previously thought..wonder what other relationships will be discovered??

    Max Liner

  3. This is a great article, because it definitely sheds light on the fact that not all bacteria causes harm, and the fact that low levels of bacteria are beneficial to the wound healing process. Its kind of like the old knowledge that a cut heals better when its exposed to air rather than kept in a bandage the whole time. Do you have any idea if scientists or researchers have tried to transform the bacteria in a lab, possibly into an injectable serum or pill, or is it a culture of bacteria that they use to treat a patient. Of course the bacteria that successfully integrates itself into a deep wound successfully avoids host defenses, would further studies on the skin microbes change anything in regards to host defenses?

    Posted by Thomas Flores

  4. This was a really interesting article. I was wondering if there were any other ways bacteria could be used to help the human body as well.

    Posted by Lindsey Janof

  5. This is a great finding of the researchers! In the environment full of bacteria, if we can take advantages of these bacteria and try to make them beneficial to humans. It will be very helpful if we gain full knowledge of these skin microbiota and apply them to the use of medical field.

    By Yim Hui

  6. This is a great article since it shows how bacteria and humans actually have a mutualistic relationship where some people would love to get rid of bacteria all together. One question I have, why would chronic wounds lead to diabetes?

    Posted by Jacob Geier

  7. Cool article. I would be interested to find out how exactly these bacteria are involved in healing the wound. The paper you cited found that when a gene is changed, the bacteria on the surface of the skin are different, and wounds don't heal as well. Maybe this gene change is directly causing healing not to happen as well as it normally does, and the change in bacteria is unrelated to the healing?

  8. Bacteria is very beneficial to us. Bacteria is one of the oldest living things on the Earth, it dates back to about 3.5 billion years. Bacteria is everywhere on Earth. I am unsure if this research could lead to more discoveries to help maintain allergies or not. But I sure hope so!
    Chronic wounds don't necessarily cause diabetes, but it has been linked to many cases. Chronic wounds lead to serious infections, gangrene, and sometimes even amputations. Chronic foot wounds are very common in patients with diabetes.

    Posted by Amber Vien

  9. These studies and what we can know, the level of influence. Chronic wounds and what really needs attention.