In America, some 6.7 million People have chronic wounds that – for one reason or another – refuse to heal for months, even years. In itself, a chronic wound can seriously reduce a person’s quality of life and eventually, if left untreated, can lead to the loss of a limb. In 2009, after years of improvement, the rate of lower limb amputations on adults with diabetes in the US (one of the nation’s largest) most preventable surgery) began to slip in the wrong direction, Increasing As of 2015, 50 percent are black, with low-income or underinsured patients most likely undergo dissection. data suggest That, by a conservative estimate, Medicare spends an estimated $28.1 billion annually on wounds. These are “very dramatic” figures, says Steven Kravitz, president of the Academy of Physicians in Wound Healing, “and they’re not getting better.”
In some ways, it is an age-old problem—inflamed wounds are one of the oldest threats to human life—and insects have an age-old solution. Maya healers clothed wounds with bandages soaked in cattle blood to attract flies and squeezed wounds with insects; Legend has it that Genghis Khan traveled with a wagon of larvae to the wounded soldiers. Safe to say, today’s patients and doctors are more comfortable with aseptic medicine practices developed in the last century. “Our hope is that medicine can do everything,” says David S. Jones, an epidemiologist and historian of medicine at Harvard. “We’ve earned our worm-free existence.”
but with rates of chronic conditions, diabetic ulcers, and hospital superbugs Growing, troublesome wounds are a very current threat, pushing physicians and patients to reconsider the role of maggots. With new ways to use their powers and new strategies to lower their yak factor, maggots may lose their reputation as a precancerous cure and take their place in the future of medicine.
At any given time, trillions of maggots, or fly larvae, are staggering across North America. A mother fly can smell decay from 10 miles away and arrive to give birth to her offspring within minutes. (In some species, she will bury herself six feet underground to find a dead body.) Scientists have observed that adult and juvenile flies penetrate sealed barriers—including coffins and suitcase zipper-easily. According to Erica McAllister, senior curator at the London Natural History Museum, insects can be found at the bottom of the lake, in camel nostrils and petroleum pits, on toadstool mushrooms and spider stomachs, and of course, in almost every cemetery everywhere in the world. also wrote flies inside out.
During this stage of a fly’s life (in many species, its longest), the larva is driven by a two-pronged mission to eat and avoid being eaten as much as possible. “For this,” McAllister writes, “its body is nothing more than a basic eating machine, with no wings, no genitals and no true legs.” In other words, maggots are hungry bags of goo traveling with streams of enzymatic saliva in search of rotting meat.
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