Bacteria-killing blue light used to stop infectionsSubmitted by Bob-45 on Wed, 01/30/2013 - 18:54
By Ben Coxworth
January 29, 2013
Over the past few years, blue light has allowed us to understand heart problems, control brain functions, and activate muscle tissue. Now, another biomedical function can be added to its list – because it’s known to have antimicrobial qualities, it’s been used to stop infections of the skin and soft tissues.
According to the American Society for Microbiology, such infections are the second most commonly-encountered type in private practice, and the most common type presented in emergency rooms. Unfortunately, as bacterial resistance to antibiotics grows, other means of stopping these infections are increasingly needed.
In a proof-of-concept study, led by Dr. Michael R. Hamblin of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, an array of blue LEDs was used to treat infected burns on lab mice. More specifically, the blue light was used to selectively eradicate potentially-lethal Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria in the animals’ skin and soft tissues.