December 21st, 2005

hobbes

Another Reason To Love Silver!

Old Curative Gets New Life at Tiny Scale

By BARNABY J. FEDER
Published: December 20, 2005

Silver, one of humankind's first weapons against bacteria, is receiving new respect for its antiseptic powers, thanks to the growing ability of researchers to tinker with its molecular structure.

Doctors prescribed silver to fight infections at least as far back as the days of ancient Greece and Egypt. Their knowledge was absorbed by Rome, where historians like Pliny the Elder reported that silver plasters caused wounds to close rapidly. More recently, in 1884, a German doctor named C. S. F. Crede demonstrated that a putting a few drops of silver nitrate into the eyes of babies born to women with venereal disease virtually eliminated the high rates of blindness among such infants.

But silver's time-tested - if poorly understood - versatility as a disinfectant was overshadowed in the latter half of the 20th century by the rise of antibiotics.

Now, with more and more bacteria developing resistance to antibiotic drugs, some researchers and health care entrepreneurs have returned to silver for another look. This time around, they are armed with nanotechnology, a fast-developing collection of products and skills that helps researchers deploy silver compounds in ways that maximize the availability of silver ions - the element's most potent form. Scientists also now have a better understanding of the weaknesses of their microbial adversaries.

Collapse )


Source NY Times.