Selenium prevents staph infection on medical implant material
An inexpensive element that naturally benefits the body through dietary intake could also protect patients from infections following the placement of implantable medical devices. Brown University engineers used selenium nanoparticles to coat polycarbonate, the material that makes up catheters and endotracheal tubes. They found that cultured populations of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria were significantly reduced, sometimes by as much as 90 percent. The goal is to prevent the bacteria from forming a biofilm, as they are often resistant to antibiotics. Since selenium is a recommended nutrient, it should be harmless to the human body in the amounts needed to coat the devices. “The longer we can delay or inhibit completely the formation of these colonies, the more likely your immune system will clear them,” Thomas Webster, professor of engineering and orthopaedics, who studies how nanotechnology can improve medical implants, said.