Sinusitis Research - Sinusitis and Biofilms - An Introduction - Part 2
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Sinusitis and Biofilms - An Introduction - Part 2

Properties of Biofilms

As mentioned, the scum layer produced by the biofilms seems to form a sort of protective barrier for the bacteria and other microorganisms it encases. The literature states that the bacteria in biofilms can be up to 500-1000 times more resistant to antibiotics than normal free-floating bacteria, and research is ongoing to determine the exact mechanisms to explain this. In addition, biofilms occasionally release a portion of their bacteria, and this discharge can migrate and cause infection at a new location. At present there are no simple methods available to test for the presence of biofilms, so it is not an easy task to determine if they are present in a patient's nasal system. The slime or scum layer looks a great deal like normal mucus.

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 Status of Biofilm Research as it Pertains to Chronic Sinusitis

Research regarding biofilms and sinusitis is still in its early stages. Most scientific papers describing research into the subject have been attempts to prove the theory that biofilms are present in chronic sinusitis patients and that they are a factor in the condition. We are a long way from seeing studies that might test how beneficial a certain treatment might be, or even how an ENT could easily determine if a patient has biofilms in his nasal passages.

Available Treatments

Some people suggest that nasal irrigation can be beneficial for people with biofilms, and this is certainly a good idea for other reasons as well. In fact it may be the single best thing that people with chronic sinus problems could do for themselves in the opinion of this author. Some studies seem to indicate that the only cure at present is debridement, or physical removal of the substance by an ENT. Again, we are in the early days of research into the theory, so it will be years before it becomes main-stream and other treatment therapies are developed and tested. If I were desperate with sinus problems and had tried every known therapy with no success, (including topical fungal therapy, which is also a relatively new approach) I think I would try to contact one of the medical schools at the universities that are doing research on this topic and see what I could learn or if I might be included in one of their formal studies. Among these are the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, West Virginia University in Morgantown, the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, the Universite of Montreal in Canada, the Naval Medical Center in San Diego, Cambridge in England, Dartmouth College, the Center for Biofilm Engineering at Montana State University, and the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, among others. I easily found extracts of papers written by all of these entities with a simple internet search on 'biofilms'.

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Research thus far shows a strong correlation between chronic sinusitis and the presence of biofilms in the nasal cavities of chronic sinusitis sufferers. Much more research to prove the theory definitively and to see it become a main-stream diagnosis remains to be done. At this point people are not even talking about such treatments as nasal sprays or other medications. Sinus sufferers should at least be aware of the issue and keep an eye on what research is being reported, as well as irrigating their noses with a saline solution daily. As noted above, there are a good number of research labs studying all aspects of biofilm research around the world, both medical and non-medical, so hopefully we will have some day an answer to the question posed at the beginning of this article and be able to effectively treat the group of people who continue to suffer from sinusitis despite years of treatment and multiple surgeries that do not bring permanent relief.

Walt Ballenberger is founder of a resource web site for sinusitis sufferers like himself. For a free report entitled 'Sinus Treatment Success Stories', visit and click on the Free Report link. This resource can be of significant help to chronic sinus sufferers.


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