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article imageFish skin aids burns victims

By Tim Sandle     Jun 10, 2017 in Health
Brazilia - To help burns victims medics have turned to something unusual and quite novel: tilapia skin. Trials using the skin have taken placed in Brazil, with people who have suffered from second and third degree burns.
Tilapia refers to over one hundred different species of cichlid fish. Tilapia are freshwater fish that are found in shallow streams and lakes. They play an important role in the aquaculture of many countries. Tilapia is the fourth most consumed fish in the U.S., known for its mild taste and white-flesh.
While consumed for centuries as food, the use of the skin of the fish for medical applications is something new. The researcher behind the initiative, Professor Odorico de Morais picks up the developments: "The use of tilapia skin on burns is unprecedented.” The scientists, who hails from the Federal University of Ceara in Northern Brazil, continues: "The fish skin is usually thrown away, so we are using this product to convert it into something of social benefit."
In Brazil treating burns is difficult due to the shortage of material for skin grafts (which are either human skin or pig skin) and a low supply of medications to treat burns. Most doctors have to resort to using gauze bandages and silver sulfadiazine cream. This leads to a significant risk of infection.
Because of this, Professor de Morais began to test out tilapia skin. For practical applications the skin needs to be cleaned and sterilized by gamma radiation. Once cleaned and treated, the skin can last for up to two years. The treatment removes any fish smell.
Post-treatment the skin can then be applied directly to the burn area. In trials, the skin has been fixed in place by a bandage, with no creams necessary. The test patients wore the skin for 10 days. At this point healing was assessed to have advanced and the tilapia skin loosens from the burn and falls off.
The reason the skin is effective, Laboratory Roots reports, is due to the plentiful amount of collagen proteins, types 1 and 3 found in the tilapia skin. An additional healing factor is that the amount of tension in tilapia skin together with a high level of moisture. The assessment was positive and further studies will be undertaken using the fish skin.
More about Burns, Fire, fish skin, Skin, Healing
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