Recently an on-line market research agency revealed an evergrowing trend towards the application of bio-therapy (leeches and maggots among some other creepy-crawlies!) within the conventional medicine setting. Many in the bio-therapy market think that the trend definitely will go on growing because it provides powerful, natural and cost effective treatments for both people and animals.

The research cited a range of market place drivers for this development among them the constraints of conventional solutions, the flexibility of biotherapy in treating many diverse symptoms, cost benefits along with the amazing success of such treatment options.

MDT (maggot debridement therapy) is at present employed by more than four thousand therapists across the world, in 1995 you could have counted the number on one hand. Any physician in the US is now able to prescribe MDT.

It might not be attractive, but biotherapy is effective. So, what is it about?

Fly maggots for many centuries, have been known to heal chronic wounds. All through the history of medical science leeches were extensively used to remedy numerous illnesses, not always successfully, I would add! As a result of the universal introduction of anti-biotics, biotherapy fell into disfavour. However since the 1990s the world of healthcare science has witnessed a revival. This is because applied properly biotherapy is successful in cases where present day medicine fails to deliver.

Maggots are helpful mainly because they break down and clear away necrotized tissues in wounds exposing sound tissue underneath and thereby supporting healing, a process that is known as debridement. Case studies usually examine scenarios where infected wounds don't heal in response to anti-biotic treatments. Usually these wounds are additional complications arising from chronic conditions, for example type 2 diabetes. For some patients the only solution for is amputation of infected body parts. Maggot Debridement Therapy (MDT) has been known to heal such wounds all together and save patients from such desperate surgery. The idea of sacrificing a limb is more than enough to help most patients over the 'yuck-factor' but it is reassuring to find out that the maggots are now usually applied confined in fine mesh dressings or 'bio-bags' which still permit the maggots to accomplish their healing work but lessens any pain associated with irritation of the wound and help hospitals to maintain hygiene. MDT is becoming increasingly popular for use in wider medical contexts and may have uses in treating skin cancer, ulcers, gangrene, burns and as an aid to post-surgery recuperation.

Leeches are used to drain blood. Doctors are finding leeches increasingly beneficial following delicate surgical procedures for example skin grafts. The main problem with such surgery is that it is rather troublesome for veins to reconnect, so that while arteries continue to pump blood to grafted tissue veins are unable to transport it away again. Veins will sooner or later re-establish by themselves nevertheless in the interim it is crucial to stop blood congestion or otherwise the graft may fail. Leech saliva is made from various proteins which are believed to help reduce swelling, to keep blood flowing and particularly usefully to numb any pain experienced. The saliva also possesses anti-coagulant properties that mean even once the leech has fallen off the job of keeping blood flowing carries on.