To ward away the winter chill, I attended a lecture by John G. Thomas, Ph.D. at my regional APIC meeting last Friday. Dr. Thomas is a professor of microbiology at West Virginia University and one of the best speakers I have ever heard. He spoke to us about biofilms, not only giving an eye-opening description of what they are and how they work, but also presenting fascinating information about new lab techniques to identify them (think CAT Scans of specimens!).
During his live presentation we were able to see 3-D action shots of how biofilms develop. He also used his hand puppet sidekicks, Biofilm Bradford and Planktonic Phyllis. Brad and Phyllis demonstrated their unique roles in causing and sustaining infections. One process they are involved in is the Ping Pong cycle.
Rather than trying to summarize his presentation, I am giving you direct links to several of Dr. Thomas' web lectures. I can't say they are as entertaining as the live "show", but they give a lot of insight into the important role that biofilms play in the development and maintenance of infections, such as chronic wounds and VAP. (Trust me, you will never think of an endotracheal tube or a dressing the same way again.) One thing I am sure you will appreciate is that Dr. Thomas respects IPs as a vital part of the health care team.
If you have a limited amount of time to devote to these lectures, I suggest that you watch
Putting the Pieces Together: The Link Between Oral Care, Biofilms and
Pneumonia and Defining the Impact of Microbes in Chronic Wounds: A Biofilm Reactor.
Have patience with the information about dental plaque. You will understand how teeth play a role in infection long before they are decayed or missing.
Each item on the list below is a direct link to a web lecture with slides. To access the link, put your cursor over the title. It will change shape to a I. When this happens, right click and select "Open link" in a new window or new tab, whichever you prefer.
The Micro Mini Series
From Dr. Thomas: Welcome to the Micro Mini Series. Below you will find a series of 30 minute lectures on Biofilms and their importance in today's medicine. It is my hope that these lectures will help shed light on what a Biofilm is, and the risk it presents in today's medical environments.