A research conducted at the University of California in San Diego discovered that one of the most effective probiotics might lie no further than our own skin. They discovered that they can combat Staphylococcus aureus by picking up rare bacteria from the skin.
The arms of patients suffering from eczema are full of Staphylococcus aureus, bacteria that easily spurs other diseases. The scientists discovered that they can pick up rare but helpful bacteria from the skin of the patients, grow it to larger numbers, and then mix it with the lotion that the patients use for their eczema.
This represents one of the many examples of the utility and potential to fight diseases of the human microbiome. The researchers involved in the study hope that the future tests will prove that this method of treatment is effective against eczema and is also more safe, without posing the risks that are typical with antibiotics.
Antibiotics can be harmful since they are not selective. When administered, they kill all microbes, even if they are useful. These bacteria from the skin can select only the S. aureus for killing and leave the protective microbes and bacteria intact.
The idea of this treatment came when the researchers noticed that healthy people have a lot of skin bacteria than can keep S. aureus under control. However, those who suffer from different cases of eczema, such as atopic dermatitis, have fewer protective bacteria on their skin. Thus, people with eczema are more likely to carry S. aureus that can make their skin problems spur and become more serious.
Researchers noticed that the beneficial bacteria – called Staphylococcus epidermidis and Staphylococcus hominis – contain certain compounds that selectively kill the Staphylococcus aureus. Also, they do not affect the beneficial microbes and bacteria and leave them unharmed.
They scanned the skin of five eczema patients and found scarce colonies of S. epidermidis and S. hominis. They took these colonies, grew them in lab, and them mixed them with the moisturizers the people were using.
Then, the researchers compared the personalized lotion with the regular lotion and found that the hand that the personalized lotion was smeared on behaved almost like it was healthy. After 24 hours, the levels of S. aureus dropped significantly.
Thus, the researchers proved that we can use our own microbiomes to produce safer and more effective treatment.
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