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New therapy option: Doctors use silkworms to repair the eardrum


Experts are developing new ways to treat a perforated eardrum
Millions of people around the world suffer from chronic otitis media. This condition can lead to a perforated eardrum and affect hearing. Researchers have now developed a way to restore the hearing of affected patients with the help of small silkworms.

Scientists at the Ear Science Institute Australia, the University of WA's Ear Science Center, and Deakin University found that silkworms can be used to repair a painfully damaged eardrum. The doctors released a press release on the results of their study.

Scientists develop tiny devices with the help of silkworms
Chronic otitis media reduces hearing and causes dangerous health complications. These can include infections that cost the lives of nearly 30,000 people each year, the study's authors explain. A combination of the latest science and silkworms led to the development of a tiny device called ClearDrum. The appearance and size of the device resemble a contact lens, say the experts.

Biocompatible silk implant ClearDrum works better than the original eardrum
This revolutionary new technology is the result of various design, manufacturing, testing and analysis teams from the Ear Science Institute Australia and the Ear Science Center at the University of WA in collaboration with experts from Deakin University. The scientists have succeeded in creating a small, biocompatible silk implant called ClearDrum. The patient's own cells then grow and thrive on it, which ultimately leads to a healed eardrum. The implant has been tested in laboratories for many years and works better than the original eardrum, the scientists explain.

ClearDrum's biocompatibility is particularly high
The so-called biocompatibility, which describes the strength and transparency of the implant for the patient, is better than ever. A reduced complexity and operation time offers an even greater advantage. This enables the implant to be used in more cases and by more surgeons in different countries.

Approximately 330 million people suffer from a perforated eardrum
Chronic otitis media is the most common cause of perforated eardrums. Around 330 million people worldwide suffer from the problem. The infections of the middle ear often lead to damage to the eardrum and the so-called mastoid bone, explain the doctors. Those affected suffer from hearing loss and pain in the ears.

How does the previous treatment of a perforated eardrum work?
Current surgical procedures, which are normally used to repair a perforated eardrum, involve the production of grafts from the patient's own tissue. Specialized and very sensitive microsurgery technology is used for this, the authors explain. Often, the patient had to undergo further surgery due to limitations in current methods.

New method is less invasive and less expensive
The innovative new treatment method is expected to be less expensive and less invasive. It also leads to a promising and faster healing of the eardrum, the researchers explain. The implant should now be launched on the market as soon as possible. (as)

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